Champions League final CCTV footage has been deleted, French football federation official says
Scenes outside the Stade de France marred the final between Liverpool and Real Madrid
Stade de France CCTV footage from the night of the Champions League final has already been deleted, an official from the French football federation has confirmed.
Liverpool fans have been blamed by the French authorities for the chaos outside the ground ahead of the 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid which saw thousands of supporters locked out and then tear-gassed by police.
France’s sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera and Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin have both blamed ticketless fans or supporters with forgeries trying to get in.
However, there have been numerous eyewitness accounts of major congestion problems on the approach to the stadium and patient fans being locked out for almost an hour as the issues with scanning tickets intensified.
After the match local gangs then assaulted and robbed supporters making their way back to coaches and trains.
But there is no video evidence to corroborate this as it has already been destroyed due to an apparent failure by officials to request copies.
“The images are available for seven days. They are then automatically destroyed,” Erwan Le Prevost, director of institutional relations at the FFF, told a French Senate hearing looking into events.
“We should have had a requisition to provide them to the different populations (organisations). The images are extremely violent.”
President of the senate law commission Francois-Noel Buffet admitted if they had not properly asked for CCTV to be kept it “would be a serious problem from our point of view”.
Liverpool Metropolitan Mayor Steve Rotheram said the missing footage was just another similarity with the way the aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, at which 97 fans died, was handled by the authorities.
“The deleted CCTV footage? It’s really worrying. I can’t understand why (it was deleted), when we want to know what happened. It shows very clearly there’s a real problem. I’m shocked to be honest,” he said via video link.
“The problem of the organisation does not come from the tickets or the false accusations against the fans.
“Everything degenerated from the exit of the Metros (stations). Mrs Oudea-Castera and Mr Darmanin have set up a false version which serves the interests of the French authorities.
“It’s like with the Hillsborough disaster, we put the blame on the fans. There is no proof of what Darmanin says about the counterfeit tickets.
“It’s ridiculous to say there were so many counterfeits. If the situation wasn’t so serious, I’d be laughing about it.”
Earlier in the hearing Paris police chief Didier Lallement admitted that the managing of the final was “obviously a failure, because people were being pushed around or assaulted while we owed them safety”.
“It’s also a failure because our country’s image…. was shattered.”
Lallement also admitted his early estimate of 30,000 to 40,000 fans without tickets or with fake tickets was probably inaccurate.
“Perhaps I was wrong,” he said. “Whether there were 40,000, 30,000 or 20,000, it didn’t change the fact that there were tens of thousands of people who could not fit in.”
Lallement also admitted his decision to remove a filtration barrier to avoid congestion had seemingly allowed “undesirables” without tickets to get to the stadium gates.
“There were 300 or 400 people who did not seem to be fans. I don’t know if they were people from the housing estates around the stadium,” he added.
“Is this a type of delinquent population that we meet in Seine-Saint-Denis? Yes, it happens, but we also meet them in the north of Paris.”