French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the government to be “transparent” about the incidents at the Stade de France ahead of a pending Senate hearing of Interior Minister Gerald Darmanan and Sports Amelie Odeia-Castera.
Government spokeswoman Olivia Gregoire admitted after a cabinet meeting that “we certainly could have done better”, as debate continued over Saturday’s chaos on the sidelines of the Champions League final.
She said that the head of state called on the government to be “transparent, revealing facts and making proposals so that they are not repeated, and to improve the ability to respond.”
She added that what the president is waiting for has become closer to his “obsession”, calling for “some calm, even if things need to be improved.”
With legislative elections on June 12 and 19 approaching, the issue has taken a political turn and raised doubts about France’s ability to stage two major sporting events a year ahead of the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and the Olympic Games in Paris two years later.
“Is France a great country capable of hosting major international sporting events?” said Gregoire. Yes and 4 times yes.
The two ministers will respond to questions from members of the Law and Culture Committees starting at 17:00 (15.00 GMT), during an open session of the press, which will be broadcast live on the Senate website.
Controversy is still raging over the measures to maintain order on the sidelines of the most important match of the season in Europe, which Real Madrid won (1-0) over Liverpool.
The English club’s chief executive, Billy Hogan, announced that a platform to collect testimonies from the team’s supporters, which was set up on Monday, had received 5,000 responses within 24 hours. He added that what he read “horrified” him, explaining that “men, women, children, healthy people and others were treated randomly during the day on Saturday.” He regretted that this happened.
Since Saturday evening, Gerald Darmanan and Amelie Odea Castera have blamed British fans for the chaos due to “large and organized fraud in the sale of fake tickets”.
“There were between 30,000 and 40,000 English fans at the Stade de France either without tickets or with fake tickets,” Darmanan said.
These figures sparked widespread controversy in France and Britain alike.
According to the authorities, this situation led to Heavy traffic near the Stade de France The riots and police intervention did not cause serious injuries.
On Wednesday, Marine Le Pen condemned what she considered a “dangerous lie”, saying that Gerald Darmannan “should consider himself leaving.”
“A minister who lies is bad news and does not bode well for the next five years,” radical left European MP Manuel Bombard of the Rebellious France party told France Info.
But Gregoire said Darmanan still had “the confidence of the president of the republic”.
The French Football Federation defended the reinforced measures around the stadium.
Sources close to the file revealed that the French Football Federation and the European Football Association estimated at “2,800” the number of “fake tickets that were scanned” on Saturday, confirming information broadcast by Radio Monte Carlo Sports.
But among those tickets that were deemed fake, there may be valid tickets that were not properly activated, according to Pierre Barthelemy, a lawyer for the French fan groups who were present at the stadium on Saturday.
As for the intelligence services, the authorities warned on May 25 that there were “about 50,000 English fans” who would not be “ticket holders”.