Terrified children wear tear gassed by French police at the Stade de France. (Picture: Reuters/Fernando Kallas)
A French government spokesperson has made a series of bizarre and demonstrably false claims about the carnage which occurred at the Stade de France on Saturday night before the UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.
Fans were locked outside turnstiles in dangerous crushes for over two-and-a-half hours before the match’s delayed kick-off, with men, women and children tear gassed by French police and beaten with shields as they tried to make an early entrance to a football match.
French minister of the interior Gérald Darmanin and sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra will face a hearing before the senate in Paris this afternoon to explain their reaction to the chaos, which included an immediate tactic to shift blame onto Liverpool fans and the release of figures about ticket forgeries which have subsequently been proven to be untrue and physically impossible.
Now, government spokesperson Olivia Grégoire has spoken before the French press to say that ‘no drama’ and ‘no injuries’ occurred, despite mountains of video evidence and testimonies to the contrary.
‘Could things have gone gone better, or could we have managed them better? Yes,’ Grégoire said. ‘But were there injuries, or was there drama? No.’
Grégoire went to claim that the fact other sporting events running without security issues in France means that the failures which occurred at the Stade de France can be ignored.
More: Liverpool FC
‘Can we improve things notably for the upcoming sporting competitions [2023 Rugby World Cup and 2024 Olympic Games]? Certainly. But is France a big country capable of hosting big sporting events? Yes, absolutely yes!’
‘Does one moment at the Stade de France undo all the expertise and competence of France welcoming big international sporting events like this? No.’
‘Were we able to organise Roland Garros and the final of the French Cup without drama? Yes. With around 70-80,000 people. Were we able to organise the very important women’s football World Cup three years ago? Yes.’
Gérald Darminin and Amélie Oudéa-Castéra have been strongly criticised by the French media and population. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)
After making her bizarre series of declarations, Grégoire then gave insight into the thought of president Emmanuel Macron, who she said felt pity for fans who were unable to enter the stadium with valid tickets but notably stopped short of a formal apology.
‘Looking at things now in the cold light of day, there are things to improve,’ she said. ‘We must not forget that a bad night happened to supporters, to families. Some supporters were even unable to go to the match. As a priority, the president of France and his government are sad and sorry that people were unable to attend a match they had purchased tickets for.’
Grégoire then repeated government ministers’ false claims about up to 56,000 fake tickets being used to try to enter the stadium, and said Darmanin’s job is safe thanks to Macron’s support.
‘Too many people tried to go to the match. A preliminary report will be published on 30 June about the security of the Olympic Games. President Macron fully sports his minister of the interior. This event was quickly dealt with by the president.’
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