They were the first concerned; they were the last to be heard. Customary of the stands, representatives of the supporters present during the evening of the Champions League final – Saturday May 28 – swapped, Tuesday June 21, the bleachers of the stadiums for those of the Senate. In turn, they were heard by parliamentarians, after the various authorities – police headquarters, French Football Federation, several ministers –; and after senators delivered “first lessons” from more than two weeks of hearings, scathing “numerous dysfunctions.”

“What was supposed to be a wonderful weekend in Paris turned into a terrifying experience,” said Ted Morris, representative of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association: “The trauma will linger for a long time. »

Until then, hearings in the Senate had retained the coldness of administrative exchanges, each one justifying the behavior of the troops for which he was responsible to lead to this conjunction of dysfunctions – like the prefect of police, Didier Lallement, on 9 June, or representatives of the Union of European Football Associations, UEFA, on Tuesday morning, June 21.

Fan stories, documenting the experiences of many supporters, have changed tone, fleshing out the numbers and numbers that have been thrown around since match night. “Overwhelming evidence and an apocalyptic situation”, summed up the former sports minister of François Hollande, Patrick Kanner, after Ted Morris recounted what an autistic 8-year-old child went through, “crushed outside the stadium and separated from his father, (…) assaulted by townspeople and then sprayed with tear gas”.

Fans had lobbied for the right to speak before the Senate. “This is the first time since February 25, when Paris was chosen [to host the final], that an institution listens to us,” said Joe Blott, representative of the Liverpool supporters association Spirit of Shankly.

Alongside French and Madrid supporters, the Liverpuldien did not spare the management of the police. “French police forces got stuck in the 1980s and took us all for hooligans,” Joe Blott said, denouncing “the stereotypes that weigh on football fans” and “police forces there for security, but not for safety”.

Call for the resignation of Gérald Darmanin

“Liverpool supporters have been treated exactly as we are treated all year round: as a threat,” continued Ronan Evain, executive director of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), present at the stadium on match night as an observer. .

If the unfolding of events on the sidelines of the Champions League final (which saw Real Madrid win against Liverpool) has been largely brought to light by the various hearings and by the report of the interministerial delegate for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and at major sporting events, Michel Cadot, supporters slammed “the hasty communication, original error” of the executive, according to Ronan Evain.

“Your endless lies and false narratives have only amplified our trauma. They will never be forgiven,” Ted Morris said of Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, calling on him to “withdraw [his] groundless accusations and have the decency to resign.”

Shortly after the match, the latter had castigated the British supporters, blaming the security fiasco on the back of a “massive, industrial and organized fraud of counterfeit notes”. A thesis widely challenged since, including by an official of UEFA, the organizing body of the Champions League.

“Contrary to what was said here by the Minister of the Interior, the English supporters were not at the origin of the incidents”, ruled the president of the Senate law commission, François-Noël Buffet. , apologizing to British fans who came to France “for justice to be done”.

Two years from the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and one year from the Rugby World Cup, supporter representatives have called for more direct communication with the authorities – including the police – to prevent such malfunctions from happening again.

“You have to learn to train to welcome supporters,” urged Pierre Barthélemy, representative of FSE. For him, France, “the only country in Europe which prohibits the travel of football supporters every weekend on the grounds that we do not know how to manage them”, has a lot to learn from its neighbors on their management of supporterism. “When you don’t know how to manage 50 supporters, you obviously don’t have the ambition to manage 80,000.” Sitting next to him, the Liverpool fans nodded.