They came from all directions, not only locals from the neighbouring blocks of flats but also illegal immigrants camping near the ring road, crack dealers and the notorious MENAs – Middle East and North African offenders – read: “unaccompanied foreign minors”, the terror of the north-eastern districts of Paris, with no faith or integrity. It was the Golden Harvest for them.
It took eight months for the UEFA’s investigative committee to publish a report on the events that occurred on Saturday, May 28th, 2022 at the Stade de France near Paris. Most of the sports world has already forgotten about them, although this hot topic did not disappear from the newspapers’ headlines for many days and even shook the world of politics.
It was going to be a high-profile event. In the Champions League Finals, Real Madrid – Spain’s champions, were to face Liverpool – runners-up of England. However, for many days the media wrote about what happened outside the stadium rather than Real’s victory over Liverpool and the duel between the titans at the legendary Stade de France. For fans of both teams, the celebration of sports turned into hell, which still reverberates to this day.
The first alarming reports from the stadium’s vicinity appeared on social media even before the match started on Saturday at 21.00. It must be admitted that they sounded like a script of a thriller. Fans of both teams – especially the numerous Englishmen – arrived there a few hours earlier to have time to enter calmly, prepare the setting in the stands, sing, take selfies for their buddies and order the first pints of beers. Unfortunately, the inefficiency of the French organisers and the efficiency of immigrant gangs meant that their plans were thwarted.
As far as the first aspect is concerned, it is difficult to call what happened anything other than a complete organisational failure of the French: most of the gates closed for unknown reasons and the capacity of the others limited; the ticket control machines jammed and the staff’s clumsiness caused massive congestion around the stadium. Thousands of fans – with tickets bought at a considerable price – for this important event, with the participation of their favourite team, were not given a chance to enter the stadium before the referee’s first whistle – delayed by 36 minutes – which was a total embarrassment. Many of them did not enter the stadium at all.
At the same time, as shown by numerous videos posted on social media, many people without a ticket somehow got into the stadium. They were mainly young residents of the surrounding blocks of flats, mostly of immigrant origin, who managed to force the security without undue difficulty, pass under the barriers with the silent participation of the staff, and sometimes jump over the fence and run over a dozen meters separating the fence from the stands. The lack of concern from the stewards in the videos was as embarrassing as the ease with which the laughable security of France’s premier sports facility could be breached.
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– Adam Gwiazda
– translated by Katarzyna Chocian