Chaos at the Stade de France: who's to blame?

The chaotic scenes ahead of the Champions League final in which Real Madrid played against Liverpool FC at the Stade de France last Saturday are a major topic in Europe's commentaries. Thousands of fans were denied access at the entrances to the stadium, the police used tear gas, around 200 people were injured and more than 100 arrested. French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed regret while Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has acknowledged mistakes, but pointed to mass ticket fraud as the cause.

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Irish Independent (IE) /

This time the cops were the bad guys

The notorious English football fans weren't the real problem, the Irish Independent explains:

“English fans in general, and Liverpool fans in particular, have a bad reputation in Europe. It's true that they don't make it easy for themselves, and the thuggery that marred the final of the Euros between England and Italy in Wembley was a grim reminder that the so-called 'English disease' of hooliganism hasn't gone away. But as much as we might like to sneer at our English friends and their often deranged behaviour when attending a match, viewers were treated to sights of appalling viciousness - but this time it was from the local cops and not the visiting fans.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Unfit for the 2024 Olympics

This clearly shows the incompetence of the mayor of Paris, where there was a vast fan zone for the final, The Daily Telegraph jeers:

“Mayor Anne Hidalgo ... plans to welcome Olympic events with narrowed streets, 60 per cent fewer parking spaces, and a proposal to transform the Pont d'Iéna, leading from the Eiffel Tower to the Trocadéro, into a car-free garden bridge. As an early example of her organising prowess, she created last Saturday a fan zone for Liverpool fans at the Champ de Mars, in which there were neither Portaloos nor rubbish bins - with the predictable results. Untouched by doubt, Hidalgo announced grandly that, à la Moscow, 1974 [1980], she would create special lanes for Olympic grandees to move through the city she has gridlocked. What could possibly go wrong?”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

A reflection of the political climate

Daily Sabah sees fundamental flaws in the French system:

“The weakness of and/or the use of disproportionate force by the French security forces in various social events such as immigrants' riots, the yellow vest protests and most recently the chaos in sports competitions raise some questions about the capacity of the French state, its democracy and the rule of law. What is the role of the most recent populist wave in French politics, which otherizes certain segments of the society, in the emergence of the atmosphere causing these events? As seen in the last general elections, almost 80 percent of French people voted for either ultra-right or ultra-left political parties.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Smart cameras can see more

New technology should play a greater role in security at major sporting events in future, counsels AI entrepreneur William Eldin in Les Echos:

“It is impossible for a team - however large - to analyse tens of thousands of videos in a security centre, especially in a crisis situation when decisions have to be made almost immediately. ... Security forces need to be 'augmented' by technology, while retaining the final decision-making authority, in particular to ensure a smoother flow of vehicles and people and keep access points clear, detect unusual behaviour, ensure maximum capacities are maintained and identify suspicious acts.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Time to rethink the security concept

It seems that no real lessons have been learned from this debacle, Le Monde writes in dismay:

“The interior minister has stressed in recent weeks that security preparations for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris will be at the top of his agenda. Saturday's events at the Stade de France do not bode well for this roadmap, especially if the government clings to its denials. It needs to drop this stance quickly and make preparations for the 2023 Rugby World Cup to be held under the best possible conditions. And wouldn't it be more sensible to be a little less ambitious regarding the opening ceremony of the Olympics, at which eight times as many spectators are to be present along the banks of the Seine as will fill the Stade de France?”

Le Figaro (FR) /

The problem is homemade

Poorly integrated sections of French society rather than the police or Uefa are to blame here, writes historian and consultant Guylain Chevrier in Le Figaro:

“The rule of law no longer seems to work because certain individuals who behave in a way that deviates from the norm no longer respect the limits that until recently constituted the basis of education, namely showing respect for others and public property. This is a recurring problem that has become entrenched. But where does it come from? It is becoming increasingly obvious that proper socialisation is lacking. ... Football is a popular sport that can set examples, help overcome prejudices, bring people together and form bonds among them. But this can only happen if it is backed by a sensible society.”