French minister recognizes mistakes and excess of people in the ‘Champions’ final

More than 110,000 people turned up at the Stade de France to see the Champions League final, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin acknowledged today in a commission by the French Senate.

The estimated number exceeds by 35,000 the expected capacity for Saturday’s match between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, and was the basis for several incidents that delayed the start of the match and led to the intervention of the police.

“It is clear that things could have been better organised. The sports festival was spoiled and we are very sorry for the sometimes unacceptable excesses that have taken place”, admitted Darmanin, much criticized in France after the statements he made about the number of false tickets to the stadium entrance.

“It is the event that has mobilized the most police and ‘gendarmes’ since I have been Minister of the Interior”, explained the minister, rejecting criticisms regarding the number of troops present: “Clearly, there were enough police forces.”

Darmanin added that “several tickets were duplicated hundreds of times”, citing a case of a ticket duplicated 744 times.

In this context, 110,000 people showed up at the doors of the Stade de France, 35,000 more than expected, who had forged tickets or not at all.

Gérald Darmanin and French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra have since Saturday blamed British fans, who they hold largely responsible for the incidents, for carrying out a “massive, industrial and organized fraud with fake tickets”.

This position has been criticized by various sectors, both in England and France.

According to the French authorities, there was a large bottleneck, incidents and police intervention.

Darmanin apologized “sincerely” to Liverpool fans for the “great harm, in particular to children”, caused by tear gas used “disproportionately”. He also assured that “sanctions will be applied”.

“British and Spanish citizens will be able to file a complaint in their countries from Monday” and will also be able to turn to the Inspectorate General of the French National Police (IGPN), which controls the activity of all police forces in France.

“I personally saw two situations in which public order and the use of tear gas were clearly against the rules,” he said, commenting on the incidents filmed and broadcast on social media.

Darmanin also announced that he had asked the inter-ministerial delegate for the Olympic Games, Michel Cadot, to consider “different rules” of dispersion using tear gas in the event of “exceptional sporting events”, as these means “are not adequate”.

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