CCTV footage of Champions League chaos has already been deleted

Security camera footage from the Stade de France from the night of the Champions League final has now been deleted, a French Football Federation official has admitted.

Liverpool fans were blamed by French authorities for the chaos outside the stadium before the 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid, with thousands of fans blocked off and then tear-gassed by police.

Amelie Oudea-Castera, France’s minister of sport, and Gerald Darmanin, minister of the interior, blamed fans or supporters without tickets for fakes trying to get in.

However, there were multiple eyewitness reports of major congestion issues on approach to the stadium and patient fans being blocked for nearly an hour as problems with ticket digitization intensified. Local gangs then assaulted and robbed fans returning to coaches and trains after the match.

But there is no video evidence to corroborate this, as it was already destroyed following an apparent failure by authorities to request copies.

“The images are available for seven days and are automatically destroyed,” Erwan Le Prevost, director of institutional relations at the FFF, told a French Senate hearing about the events. “We should have a requisition to provide them to different populations [organisations]. The images are extremely violent.”

François-Noel Buffet, chairman of the Senate law committee, said that if he had not properly ordered the maintenance of CCTV, “it would have been a serious problem from our point of view.”

Steve Rotheram, mayor of Liverpool Underground, said the lost footage was another similarity to how the aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which led to the deaths of 97 fans, was handled.

“It’s really worrying,” he said. “I cannot understand why [it was deleted], when we want to know what happened. This shows very clearly that there is a real problem.

“I’m shocked, to be honest. Mrs Oudea-Castera and Mr Darmanin have presented a false version which serves the interests of the French authorities. It’s like the Hillsborough disaster, we blame the fans. There is no evidence of what Darmanin says about the forged tickets.”

Didier Lallement, Paris police chief, had previously admitted that he may have falsely claimed that up to 40,000 Liverpool fans tried to enter the stadium with fake tickets. “Perhaps I made a mistake with the value I gave the minister,” Lallement said. “I never claimed it was absolutely accurate.”

The police chief said he based the number on figures provided by Paris transport operators and “feedback” from officers on the ground. He acknowledged that there were not 30,000-40,000 “at the stadium gates”, but maintained that many thousands were nearby.

“It’s obviously a failure,” said Lalle Ment. “It was a failure because people were pushed and attacked. It’s a failure because the country’s image has been damaged.” He also said he was “sorry” for authorizing the use of tear gas to drive fans out of the stadium before the match, but added that “there are no other ways” to alleviate the mounting pressure on the gates.

“We needed to get people to come back,” explained Lallement.

Leave a Comment