The senators intend to shed light on the incidents that occurred at the Stade de France on May 28. But, over the hearings of those responsible for the Champions League final, “the more we advance, the more gray areas emerge and new information challenges us”, summarizes Michel Savin, senator Les Républicains (LR) of the Isere. Thursday, June 9, parliamentarians learned with amazement of the destruction, for lack of having been requisitioned, of the CCTV images of the Stade de France.
Officials of the French Football Federation (FFF) were asked to explain the “dysfunctions seen by the millions of viewers”, as put it by the chairman of the Senate’s culture and education committee, Laurent Lafon. Either scenes of panic near the Dionysian enclosure, supporters sprayed with tear gas, others trying to enter without a ticket; and, finally, a thirty-six-minute delayed kick-off.
If they filmed the whole evening, the Stade de France video surveillance cameras will not be able to clarify the situation. “Images are available for seven days. They are then automatically destroyed. We should have had a requisition to provide them to the different populations, said the director of institutional relations of the FFF, Erwan Le Prévost. Having been at the security PC all day, the images are extremely violent. »
This announcement surprised the senators, while the device of maintaining order implemented during this match between Liverpool and Real Madrid is the subject of a lively controversy. “It means that images that you consider very violent existed and that there was no request from the authorities, in particular from the prefecture. (…) There is evidence that has been destroyed by, at least, incompetence, “said socialist senator from Paris David Assouline.
The images requested… this Thursday
Why did the Bobigny prosecutor’s office, which opened an investigation on Tuesday May 31 into counterfeit fraud following a report from the prefect of police, not request these images? “The only investigation of which the prosecution is officially seized concerns counterfeit notes, and there is no need for the images of the FFF to identify the traffickers”, assures a source close to the investigation, nevertheless surprised by the destruction of the images . “The legal retention period for video surveillance is one month” at the Stade de France, justifies this same source.
Although the prefectural decree authorizing video surveillance in the stadium does indeed provide for a maximum retention period for images of thirty days, the capacity of the servers of the Stade de France consortium, which manages the interior of the sports enclosure, does not allow them to be stored. keep beyond seven to eight days. “It has always been the case, specifies a familiar with the file, surprised that the videos were not required from the outset. This is the basic tool to see what is happening at the doors. »
In view of the events, the FFF could have reported these images to the prosecution. Just as a judicial police officer (OPJ) could have requisitioned them, without going through the prosecution. According to information from Le Monde, an OPJ did request the images from the Stade de France consortium… but on Thursday evening, June 9, after the destruction of the said tapes was made public.
The prefect of police of Paris, Didier Lallement, meanwhile, endeavored to defend before the senators – a week after the ministers of the interior, Gérald Darmanin, and sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra – the police force which he had set up near the Dionysian enclosure. “I take full responsibility for the policing of the day (…). I am the only operational accountant,” assured the senior official, admitting “obviously a failure (…), the image of the country has been shaken”, and expressing his “sincere regrets” to the British and Spanish supporters .
“Better coordination” in the future
However, Didier Lallement did not deviate from his line of defense. If he admitted to having “perhaps been mistaken by a few thousand”, the prefect of police claims to be at the origin of the figures of “30,000 to 40,000 supporters without tickets or with counterfeit tickets” advanced from the outset final whistle by Gérald Darmanin. But he insists that “it was never said that these (…) supporters were in the direct vicinity of the stadium. We smelled them upstream of the filtration points”.
If it was then eclipsed by questions of video surveillance, that of counterfeit notes – and their number – had first focused the attention of senators. FFF director general Florence Hardouin said 2,536 counterfeit banknotes had been scanned at the entrance gates to the Lyon compound, while admitting that it was “very difficult to assess the precise number of counterfeit banknotes. in total “. For this type of event, “there are on average 300 fake tickets,” she compared.
Co-organizer of the final with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the FFF criticized the RATP for “the lack of real-time information on the diversion of flows from RER B to RER D”. According to Erwan Le Prévost, the system developed – in three months, instead of eighteen, due to UEFA’s decision to withdraw the final from Russia at the end of February – was undermined by the strike, which that day, on the RER B (one of the main access points to the stadium) and the lack of communication with the Ile-de-France transport authority. “If some people make decisions without consulting other parties, it doesn’t work,” he said, calling for “better coordination” in the future.
Mayor of Liverpool ‘shocked’
“Have no doubt about our desire to shed light,” Senator Laurent Lafon assured the mayor of the metropolis of Liverpool, Steve Rotheram, on Thursday, “shocked” to learn of the disappearance of the images of video surveillance. Victim of pickpockets on the day of the final, the city councilor responded by videoconference to the invitation of the senators. He railed against “the French authorities who have built their campaign to shift the blame” on the Reds, the Liverpool team, in order, according to him, “to hide the organizational problems”.
The senators intend to continue their investigation. “A certain number of hearings seem to me unavoidable: those of the RATP and the SNCF, of Michel Cadot, the interministerial delegate for major sporting events, and probably also the consortium of the Stade de France”, suggests the socialist senator from Creuse Jean-Jacques Lozach.
Other images may appear. The surveillance cameras targeting the forecourt of the stadium, outside the sports enclosure, depend on the Paris police headquarters. “Let’s not confuse images of the police and images of a private operator, the images in [our] possession are obviously always available to justice”, assured, Thursday evening, the Paris Police Prefecture on Twitter, seeing the controversy swell.