French parliament slaps down Gérald Darmanin for response to cup final chaos

EuroActiv Politico News

A French parliament report said Wednesday that Liverpool fans were not to blame for chaotic scenes outside May’s Champions League final at the Stade de France — and rapped Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin for his initial response.

In the aftermath of the pandemonium, which saw thousands of fans stuck outside the stadium while French police deployed tear gas, authorities claimed the English club’s supporters had attempted to enter with 30,000-40,000 fake tickets.

But in a report, titled “Champions League Final: An Avoidable Fiasco,” French lawmakers said it was “unfair” to point the finger at Liverpool fans — and that Darmanin should, in fact, have been looking in the mirror when seeking to apportion blame.

Darmanin attempted to “deflect attention from the state’s inability to properly manage the crowd and suppress the action of several hundred violent and organised delinquents,” the report said, pointing to the actions of local youths who contributed to the mayhem.

The committees, which heard evidence from Liverpool supporters and club representatives as well as French officials, found that problems were caused by a chain of dysfunctional decisions and a lack of cooperation between parties responsible for match logistics.

European football’s governing body UEFA was also slapped down in the report for failing to plan for potential ticketing fraud, and Paris police were taken to task for their anti-terror procedures inflaming the situation. A rail strike the same day added extra tension to the situation, according to the Senate report.

Real Madrid, which won the final 1-0, had also demanded “answers and explanations” in the days after the game.

The results of the probe pile pressure on French officials ahead of the forthcoming 2023 Rugby World Cup in France and 2024 Olympics in Paris.