World Cup 2022: the Blues, weakened defending champions

The scenario, dramatic, repeats itself. An injury, medical examinations, then the announcement that falls like a cleaver: that of a new package to be deplored. For several months, the bad news has been linked for the French football team, while the World Cup in Qatar, where it presents itself as defending champion, has just started. The trend has not reversed a few dozen hours before the kickoff of the first match of the Blues, Tuesday, November 22 at 8 p.m. against Australia.

On Saturday evening, France striker Karim Benzema withdrew after injuring his thigh during training. Three days earlier, 25-year-old Christopher Nkunku, injured in his knee, made the same forced decision. Before them, the pillars of the 2018 victory Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, goalkeeper Mike Maignan and defender Presnel Kimpembe had already announced that they would not take part in the competition.

Olivier Giroud, the best equipped to replace Karim Benzema

To remedy this, Didier Deschamps opted for a larger group. Without Pogba or Kanté, the midfielder of the France team is bald. The coach was diplomatic with the newcomers: “You know what the two absent ones represent in terms of experience, of leadership. Fortunately, in the various gatherings, these new players had some playing time.

For the former physical trainer of the Blues, Éric Bedouet, present during the 2014 World Cup, the summoned midfielders have a card to play. The latter recalls that “Youssouf Fofana knows Aurélien Tchouaméni by heart, having worked alongside him in Monaco, who himself now rubs shoulders with Eduardo Camavinga at Real Madrid. »

In attack, Olivier Giroud is the best equipped to replace Karim Benzema. Holder in Russia, four years ago, and author of a very good start to the season with AC Milan, he has often been compared to his injured compatriot. A rivalry maintained mainly by the media, according to Éric Bedouet.

“I remember a game in Brazil where Giroud and Benzema were playing together on the pitch. At the end, Olivier found that his match had not been at the level.he recalls. “I showed him his match stats and said ‘Look at the numbers, the number of runs you’ve made to unsettle the opposition, assists etc. That’s how Karim scored.” He was reassured. That’s a group. »

Heal the egos

By summoning a larger group, the staff of the France team will have to heal the egos between the indisputable holders and the others. “Will they all have playing time? I don’t have the answer today”conceded Didier Deschamps, recalling that his main objective, with his staff,is not to lose anyone”.

“You never know what can happen during a competition, so everyone is likely to playrecalls Éric Bedouet. If Didier takes them, it’s because he knows that these are players who will blend into the collective. A group is built like that. If you take someone who absolutely wants to enter the field but you take him as a substitute, it can create problems. »

“It’s often the substitutes that make the group work”

For the specialist, “Each player is carefully monitored throughout the year. There are correspondences between the staff of the France team and the clubs to find out the personality of one or another. he explains. If a player is selected because of his sporting skills, the fact remains that he will also be selected for his ability to accept remaining on the bench and to take on a more secondary role..

“In reality, it is often the substitutes who make the group work well. Take the example of Adil Rami in 2018”, advises Eric Bedouet. In Russia, the defender had not played a single minute in the seven games of the Blues. However, all his teammates had insisted on the leading role of number 17 during the competition. Jovial and a joker, he had contributed in his own way to making this group welded and united. Condition sine qua non to aim for a new coronation.


The Blues, always present at the highest level

France is taking part in Qatar in its 16e World Cup. It’s his 7e consecutive appearance, the longest streak in its history.

By combining Mondial and Euro, France participates in its 14e consecutive major tournament. The Habs have not been absent from a major international tournament since the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

The reigning world champions won their opening match in only three of the last twelve editions of the World Cup.

This is the 5e consecutive major tournament of Didier Deschamps as coach of France, a national record.



Champions League: PSG will face Bayern Munich in the round of 16

Paris Saint-Germain will challenge Bayern Munich, a very big chunk, in the knockout stages of the Champions League in early 2023, in a rematch of the 2020 final won by the Munich residents (1-0), according to the draw made Monday, November 7 in Nyon (Switzerland).

The other poster will oppose Liverpool to Real Madrid, less than a year after the 2022 final won by the people of Madrid at the expense of the English club at the Stade de France (1-0). The round of 16 of C1 are scheduled from February 14 to 22 for the first legs, and from March 7 to 15 for the return legs.

At UEFA headquarters, fate was not very kind with PSG, who featured in the second hat and pulled one of the scarecrows among the top seeds.

First leg in February

The Parisian team, led by its attacking trio Messi-Neymar-Mbappé, will have a hard time facing the Bavarian armada led by Sadio Mané, who largely dominated the toughest pool of the first round while Paris finished second in its group, preceded in extremis by Benfica.

It is nevertheless the occasion for the champion of France to take a new revenge on Bayern, his executioner in the final of the 2020 edition in Lisbon: in 2021, the Parisians had eliminated the Munich residents with mastery in the quarter-finals (3 -2, 0-1).

Small disadvantage, Paris will receive in the first leg in February before having to go to Germany on the return in March.

Inter Milan will challenge FC Porto

In other encounters, Germans RB Leipzig will challenge Manchester City and their wonderkid Erling Haaland, while Borussia Dortmund take on Chelsea and AC Milan take on Tottenham.

Less flashy but more open posters between the amazing Club Brugge and the Portuguese Benfica, or even between Eintracht Frankfurt, holders of the Europa League, and Naples, one of the most in-form teams on the continent. Finally, Inter Milan will challenge FC Porto.

The round of 16 of C1 are scheduled from February 14 to 22 for the first legs, and from March 7 to 15 for the return legs.



Champions League: PSG-Haifa, a match under high security

A reinforced security system “800 police and gendarmes” is scheduled for Tuesday, October 25 by the Paris police headquarters for the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Israeli Maccabi Haifa, at the Parc des Princes.

In a note from the Paris police headquarters, revealed by AFP, the security services explain that “this meeting presents a high risk of disturbing public order” for several reasons.

Present in large numbers, the supporters of the Collectif Ultras Paris (CUP), could take advantage of the event to demonstrate “their support for the Palestinian cause”, so say the authorities. On August 13, during a league match between PSG and the Montpellier team, the CUP unfurled the Palestinian flag and a banner “We hang out in strips like in Gaza” in support of Palestine.

An exceptional device

The Paris police headquarters also believes that “ultra-Zionist activists, including some close to the former Jewish Defense League” could be there for “protect Israeli supporters”, based on information from the Israeli Embassy. In its note, the prefecture also mentions the fact that“about 2,000 Maccabi Haifa supporters from outside Israel” would be “likely to have bought seats in the general public stands”.

The isolation of the latter, in the midst of Parisian supporters, “could create security risks, for themselves or those around them if they do not respect neutral behavior”, explains the press release.

In this context, it was planned to mobilize “1,400 stewards”to constitute “a security reserve of 350 seats in the visitors’ stand to be able to relocate Maccabi Haifa supporters isolated in the general public stands”, details the prefecture. And to explain that the gauge of the visitors’ stand has been reduced to “1,650 places for Maccabi supporters against 2,000” usually. According to UEFA regulations, each club that qualifies for the Champions League is required to reserve at least 5% of the capacity of its stadium exclusively for the use of supporters of the visiting club.

A liability between Israel and PSG

On the occasion of the first confrontation between the two clubs, on Wednesday September 14, in Haifa, a similar device was deployed. A thousand stewards had thus operated within the confines of the Sammy-Ofer stadium. The case of one player in particular had attracted particular attention from the authorities: Achraf Hakimi. The Moroccan side of PSG had posted a tweet in May 2021, with the hashtag #FreePalestine, at a time of renewed tension in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The latter had angered many pro-Israel netizens. Entering late in the game, the Moroccan international had suffered many whistles.

For the geopolitical analyst and founder of the FC Geopolitics site, Kévin Veyssière, an event of this type is “rather outstanding”.“The Haifa club is not reputed to be the most sulphuroushe continues. The city of Haifa is also famous for hosting a large Muslim community. This is not the case, for example, for the Beitar Jerusalem club, of which many far-right activists claim to be supporters. »

More than overflows, “we can fear certain claiming banners, at most”concludes the analyst who believes that the supervision and security conditions envisaged by the police headquarters will be up to the task.



Champions League: money does not always bring happiness

At Paris Saint-Germain, it’s the same little music that we hear at the start of each season. “What if this year was the right one? », can be heard in the circle of football fans. Since the takeover of the club by Qatar in 2011, PSG has always been chasing its goal: to win the Champions League.

Since the end of August and the Parisian club’s good start to the season, its players and supporters have been hoping to win the European title that is so missing from their list, as the club begins its European campaign on Tuesday, September 6 against Juventus. from Turin (9 p.m.).

The “super rich” spend lavishly

In its quest for a “big-eared cup”, PSG has not skimped on resources over the past eleven years. As soon as the Qataris took power, big names were recruited at great expense: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, David Luiz, Angel Di Maria, etc.

A recruitment policy that culminates in the 2017-2018 off-season, when the Parisian club offers itself the two most expensive players in the history of football: Neymar Jr (220 million euros) and Kylian Mbappé (180 million) . The arrival of Lionel Messi last year confirms that PSG continues to be ready to do anything to shine in Europe. In all, more than 1.5 billion euros spent since 2011. However, each year, the observation is similar: Paris Saint-Germain is not at the level of the biggest clubs in Europe.

The capital club is not the only one to ardently desire a first success in the Champions League. Since its takeover by Emirati investors in 2008, Manchester City has not been more successful than its Parisian competitor in getting their hands on the trophy. Like PSG in 2020, the English club could only glimpse it by qualifying for the final in 2011. Before losing to Chelsea.

Like the Parisians, the Mancunians have nevertheless put their hands in their pockets. Between 2010 and 2021, Manchester City spent more than 1.7 billion euros on the transfer market – a record. This summer, the club again offered the services of young Norwegian striker Erling Haaland for the sum of 75 million euros.

Other happier investors

If these two “new rich” failed in their European quest, other clubs managed to win the coveted trophy shortly after their takeover. This is the case, for example, of Chelsea. The London club, which had had some success in the 1990s, became the property of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in 2003.

Under the impetus of its new owner, the Londoners acquire several major players such as the Ivorian striker Didier Drogba, the French midfielder Claude Makélélé or the defender Joe Cole. The recruitment of coach José Mourinho completes a flashy squad. A golden age then opens for the Blues, which chain successes on the national scene and will confirm nine years later by winning the Champions League. Chelsea will double down in 2021, a year before the club sold out due to the war in Ukraine.

Another historical English formation knew how to transform its takeover into a success. In 2010, the Liverpool club was on the brink, both financially and sportingly, stagnating in 18th place in the championship. It was then bought by the American investment fund New England Sports Ventures. As for Chelsea, success is not immediate. The club gradually climbed the slope before establishing itself as a major player in European football from 2015. And finally won the Champions League in 2019.



Champions League: with Christophe Galtier, the turning point of the rigor of PSG

Eleven years after its passage under the Qatari flag, Paris Saint-Germain no longer wishes to dream, it wants to act. After the “end of glitter” and “bling bling” announced in June by its president Nasser Al Khelaïfi – in a speech, admittedly, already served in the past – or that of the tracks leading to Zinedine Zidane as coach, the club is beginning a realistic turn which will for the first time be passed to the European revealer, Tuesday, September 6, against Juventus Turin.

Like every season spent waiting for a first continental title, it is in the Champions League that the effects of this change will be the most scrutinized. To stop the cycle of early eliminations in recent seasons, the leaders have bet with Christophe Galtier on a coach whose history in the Champions League is limited to six games, including five losses, three years ago. But whose reputation, in France, is well established.

In just over ten years of practice, his prolonged experience at Saint-Étienne, punctuated by a Coupe de la Ligue in 2013, then the club’s first title in thirty-two years, and his visits to Lille (successful) and in Nice (more contrasted) have made the native Marseillais a seasoned technician. Rarely flamboyant in the way his teams play, like his first life as a fierce defender of the French championship, the fifty-year-old has become one of the familiar faces of the French pragmatic school, embodied at the highest level by Didier Deschamps, sa ” reference “. A solidity which will ensure him to be elected best coach of the elite three times by his peers (2013, 2019, 2021) and will lead him to the title in Ligue 1 with Lille, two seasons ago.

The collective before the egos

By taking the reins of a team whose “membership and reputation” require him to adopt a more ambitious style, he himself admitted, the Frenchman began to respond on the ground to the first of the uncertainties surrounding his arrival. Entirely focused on their attacking trio Kylian Mbappé-Lionel Messi-Neymar, authors of 20 of the club’s 28 goals in seven games, PSG have been reciting their football since the start of the season, distributing the slaps to Clermont (5-0), Montpellier ( 5-2) and Lille (7-1). As for the second question mark, his ability to manage the egos of the capital club, Galtier said to himself “able to take this pressure”in an interview at The Team mid-July.

So far, it has always been right about its predecessors. Thus the German Thomas Tuchel, the penultimate to date, who confided that he no longer knew where to turn between the posture of” coach “ and the one at “politician”a few days before taking the door in 2020. With the exception of the remarkable passage of Laurent Blanc, the second French coach only in the Qatari era, six years ago, many had to give up putting their paw on for lack of weight when building the workforce.

“Good communicator”

To weigh against the stars, Christophe Galtier can count on the Portuguese Luis Campos, sports director renowned for his lynx eyes when approaching the transfer window, which he considers to be “a determining factor”. The two men take over the winning duo they had formed in Lille, between 2017 and 2020. If the club had a hard time getting rid of a few undesirables this summer (Draxler, Wijnaldum, Rafinha, Kehrer, Kurzawa or Herrera), new recruits less gleaming than usual have come to make up for the shortcomings observed in the midfield (Fabian Ruiz, Vitinha, Renato Sanches or Carlos Soler), more than to resonate internationally.

And to the last ones who would be tempted to pull the cover to them, the coach warned from his presentation to the press that“no player will be above the group. The “penalty gate” against Montpellier? “An epiphenomenon” without consequence for Mbappé and Neymar, he extinguished the day after the spat between the two players to strike the second penalty of the match. An alternation, like last season, as goalkeepers so as not to offend anyone? The technician has decided: there will be a holder, Donnarumma, and his luxury substitute, Keylor Navas.

In “good communicator” believe two of his former clubs, Galtier has since applied himself not to prolong the speech of his president, no longer presenting Kylian Mbappé as ” the best “ but “one of the best players in the world”. A way of remembering – or of convincing oneself – that “remain a team player” despite the supposed takeover of his striker this summer, he who decided to stay at the club by once again resisting the sirens of Real Madrid.


A tight European schedule

Due to the move to the fall of the World Cup, the 2022-2023 edition of the Champions League will experience a tight first part of the season.

In Group H, Paris Saint-Germain will face the Italians of Juventus Turin (September 6 in Paris, return match on November 2), the Israelis of Maccabi Haifa (September 14, return match in Paris on October 25) and the Portuguese from Benfica Lisbon (October 5, return match in Paris on October 11). Marseille, the second French club, will try to find a place between Tottenham, Sporting Lisbon and Frankfurt to reach the round of 16. The final will be played on June 10, 2023 in Istanbul (Turkey).



Champions League: PSG against Juventus Turin, OM in an affordable group

Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG) will have a lot to do from the first round of the next Champions League. The champions of France inherited the Italians from Juventus of Turin, double winner of the competition (1985 and 1996). The two behemoths will be accompanied in Pool H by the Portuguese from Benfica Lisbon and the Israelis from Maccabi Haifa.

Threatened to quickly find themselves opposed to one of the European giants, Olympique de Marseille (OM) benefited from a rather lenient draw. The Phocaeans will face Eintracht Frankfurt, Tottenham and Sporting Portugal in the coming months. The “group of death” will mix Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, ​​Inter Milan and the Czechs of Viktoria Plizen. The defending champion, Real Madrid, has inherited one of the most affordable groups, along with RB Leipzig, Chakhtar Donetsk and Celtic Glasgow.

Final in Istanbul

The draw for the group stage of the Champions League, the most prestigious European football competition, was held on Thursday August 25 in Istanbul. The Turkish capital will host the final of the 68th edition of the “C1”, on June 10, 2023, at the Atatürk stadium. The group stage will take place from September 6 to November 2. The top two from each group will qualify for the round of 16.

Second in Ligue 1 at the end of the 2021-2022 season, Olympique de Marseille will try to do better than in their last two appearances, which had turned into a nightmare. In 2013, with coach Elie Baup on his bench, OM lost their six games. Two years ago, the only French club to win the Champions League (in 1993) only took three points, after one victory and five defeats.

PSG among the big favorites

This year again, PSG will be among the big favorites for the big-eared cup, the Qataris’ ultimate goal since their takeover of the capital club in 2011. Last March, the team of Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi, Neymar had prematurely took the door of the competition, from the round of 16, against Real Madrid, final winner and record holder of the number of successes in the competition (fourteen).

This edition will see its calendar greatly tightened due to the unprecedented organization of the World Cup, moved back from November 20 to December 18, and not in June and July as usual, due to local climatic conditions.

All groups

Group A: Ajax Amsterdam; Liverpool; Napoli; Glasgow Rangers

Group B: FC Porto; Atletico Madrid; Bayer Leverkusen; Club Brugge

Group C: Bayern Munich; FC Barcelona ; Inter Milan; Viktoria Plizen

Group D: Eintracht Frankfurt; Tottenham; Sporting Portugal; Olympic Marseille

Group E: AC Milan; Chelsea; RB Salzburg; Dinamo Zagreb

Group F: Real Madrid; RB Leipzig; Shakhtar Donetsk; Celtic Glasgow

Group G: Manchester City; Sevilla FC; Dortmund; FC Copenhagen

Group H: PSG; Juventus Torino; Benfica; Maccabi Haifa



Tour de France: the Col du Granon, a challenge for the organization and the champions

To justify the choice of routes for the Tour de France, its director Christian Prudhomme often repeats: “We have to go where the sport takes us. » And this Wednesday, July 13, the sport takes climbing aces to the Col du Granon, perched at an altitude of 2,400 m. A rediscovery, the Grande Boucle reconnecting with the monster winding through the heart of the Hautes-Alpes for the first time since 1986, its previous and only visit.

These thirty-six years of scarcity of the “Ogre of Briançonnais”, Stéphane Boury is hardly surprised. “It’s really very complicated to land up there”, summarizes the person in charge of arrivals within the organizing company ASO. However, he knows a lot about it, the former amateur runner converted to ASO at the turn of the century and promoted to kingpin at the end of the stage in 2016. With an almost military discipline, he participates in the improbable roaming of the great circus cyclist, at the head of a team of 80 people on a war footing from 6 a.m. to channel 1,200 cars and 120 38-tonne heavy goods vehicles to each race terminal, not to mention the public always very present to greet the winner of the day.

“It’s a cul-de-sac, with very few places available”

This crazy crowd is unthinkable at the top of the Granon. “It’s a cul-de-sac, with very few places availableexplains Stéphane Boury. So no stands, VIP spaces, the bare minimum authorized to ensure retransmission, a few very rare cars and trucks. The team buses will be waiting at the foot of the pass. For four years, in this configuration, the riders have been equipped with armbands and whistles, to stand out in the crowd, and they have been cycling down. Normally, everything goes well. I watch over it with mad energy. It is my mission. »

Limiting access is not just a matter of security. Environmental concerns are also essential on a site registered in the European network of Natura 2000 protected areas. “The Col du Granon is our most sensitive area this yearcomments Karine Bozzacchi, project manager at ASO. The mountain is always problematic, and the hardest part is having the right people in the right place. For the Granon, we had very good contacts with the management of the Hautes-Alpes territories and the Natura 2000 project manager, and we found solutions. We have a whole range of measures established with Biotope, a firm of naturalist experts. A botanist goes upstream to carry out inventories. We send material to protect from trampling many forbidden spaces. »

leave no trace

The passage of the Tour must leave no trace. At the very top of the Granon, a 200 m strip of tar2, posed for the occasion, must very quickly disappear. On the edges of the very narrow road, forbidden to motorhomes since July 4 and where access on foot and by bike is limited to the morning before the race, the call for responsibility is in order. “Over the past ten years, the public has nevertheless greatly changed its behaviorcontinues Karine Bozzacchi. Most often, people leave with their waste. »

This was not really the case in 1986, when a huge crowd had accompanied, throughout the last kilometers in the lunar landscape, the heroes of the time, including an exhausted Bernard Hinault who had to abandon his yellow tunic to the American Greg LeMond, future winner of the Tour. Christian Bourbon remembers it with emotion, at the time a young France Telecom technician who had helped lay a 10 km cable across the mountain to provide telecommunications.

Today president of the ASPTT Briançon club which organizes the Granon Challenge every August, a hill climb launched in 1978 by Louison Bobet, he plans an intense spectacle on a terrain he knows perfectly: “It’s a very irregular pass, and that’s its main difficultyhe warns. It is impossible to have a cruising speed like in the Izoard and the Galibier. The slope is terrible on the end, which should also be crushed by the heat. »

The onslaught of the sun is everything that Tadej Pogacar hates. Is he risking his yellow jersey on the Granon, like Hinault in the past? Christian Bourbon is wary of comparisons. “In 1986, the Col de Vars, Izoard and Granon sequence was more difficult, especially with 190 km of racing, concludes the expert. There, over 150 km, there is certainly the Telegraph and the Galibier, but a long descent before the Granon which allows you to recover. The runners will still have strength at the foot of the Granon. There will be sports. » The exact justification for choosing the Granon.


Finally a triumphant escape

Four climbs were on the program for this short tenth stage (148 km) between Morzine and Geneva. A gentle approach to the Alps, a day promised to adventurers. Before the big explanations to come, they are about twenty to be allowed the beauty about halfway through. Classic breakaway up to 37 km from the finish when the race was interrupted by a handful of demonstrators warning against global warming. Twelve short minutes of rest, and the breakaway continued by accumulating the minutes ahead of the peloton. His men will not give up and it is the Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen who wins the half-wheel bet. In a good move, the German Lennard Kamna saw himself in yellow for a while, but without hurrying, Tadej Pogacar kept his tunic for a few seconds.



Champions League: Gérald Darmanin tries to extinguish the controversy on TF1 news

A “fiasco”. This is the word that comes up the most to qualify the Champions League final on Sunday May 29, which pitted Real Madrid against English club Liverpool in Paris. The match started more than thirty minutes late as young spectators without tickets climbed the gates of the Stade de France enclosure to try to enter. The police tried to repel them, in particular with the help of tear gas. Gérald Darmanin spoke on TF1’s “20 heures” to try to contain the controversy.

→ ANALYSIS. After the Stade de France fiasco, the authorities’ strategy called into question

The Minister of the Interior stuck to the line he had taken so far: he blamed the English supporters, who he believed to be guilty of a “massive, industrial and organized fraud of counterfeit banknotes”. On the tray of the newspaper, he even drew two tickets, one real and the other fake, to show how difficult it was to distinguish them.

70% counterfeit notes, according to Darmanin

“Of the people checked, 70% had counterfeit notes”, he asserted. He also said that only Liverpool supporters were affected by these frauds. According to the Minister, it is these counterfeiting problems that have generated “a very important stopper”, and only the intervention of the police could prevent a ” drama “ to occur. Gérald Darmanin therefore defended the decisions taken on Sunday evening, even if he conceded that the techniques used by the police were “hard to see on television”.

However, the Minister of the Interior admitted that in some cases the use of force was not “not proportionate”. He indicated that he was ready to contact the victims to apologize.

False information about “delinquents”

Gérald Darmanin also wanted to come back to the “offences” denounced, and in particular the presence of pickpockets around the Stade de France. “There were 100 arrests, but a lot of nonsense was said, with harsh insults against the inhabitants of Seine-Saint-Denis”, he said, clarifying that claims that the alleged culprits were undocumented people were “false”. “The far right must not use this event for its nauseating campaign”, he asserted.

→ REREAD. Champions League: Darmanin defends the police, the rest of the world denounces his action

In order to overcome this problem for future sporting events, Gérald Darmanin expressed his wish that tickets would now be “tamper-proof”, and so “digital”. For its part, UEFA announced the opening of an independent investigation into the events.



Champions League in Paris: ominous incidents before the Olympics?

“I just had one of the worst experiences of my life. Terrible security and organization, putting lives at risk. » Like thousands of British supporters, Liverpool MP Ian Byrne did not mince his words on the evening of Saturday May 28, after entering the Stade de France for the Champions League final between the club from this city. British at Real Madrid. Rarely, the kick-off was given 36 minutes late and some of the supporters missed a whole half. But what happened?

Gérald Darmanin, the Paris police headquarters and UEFA point the finger at the responsibility for “thousands” holders of counterfeit tickets who would have blocked access to the stadium at the level of the turnstiles, before people managed to climb the gates to enter its enclosure. “Colleagues say they have never seen this. They received bursts of supporters who tried to force their way through. There were plenty of staff, but they were overwhelmed. The time to wait for reinforcements and to be able to repel people, it was necessary to calm the anger, “ says Josias Claude, representative of the SGP-Police unit union in Paris.

→ READ. Champions League in Paris: the prefect of police takes legal action for “massive counterfeit ticket fraud”

The police used tear gas to disperse the crowds. Images that moved abroad and which the opposition quickly seized in France. In total, the Ministry of the Interior counts 105 arrests. More than 200 minor injuries were counted by firefighters throughout the evening. The Paris police chief, Didier Lallement, has decided to take legal action for a “massive counterfeit fraud”.

Dangerous bottlenecks according to supporters

The authorities’ version did not convince the supporters, who described long waits outside the stadium and dangerous bottlenecks where the crowd massed, resulting in a cacophony. “The supporters are not responsible for this fiasco”, defends the association Football Supporters Europe. Merseyside-Liverpool Police, whose officers were present, certified on Sunday May 29 that “the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner and arrived early”. The Liverpool club is asking for an investigation. The audit announced by UEFA should shed light on the events.

A police source and a Spanish supporter speak, in addition, of snatching in large numbers around the stadium, especially at the end of the match. They describe a largely unsuitable police system. The match was originally scheduled to be played in Russia, but was relocated in late February as a sanction against the invasion in Ukraine. The organizers and the authorities therefore only had three months to think about the device, against more than a year and a half in normal times.

Bad image for France which hosts the Olympics in 2024

With the approach of the Rugby World Cup, spread over nine stadiums at the start of the 2023 school year, then the Olympic Games in Paris, in two years, this is an event that goes badly. Especially since the Ministry of the Interior said, three days earlier, that it was particularly concerned about the image of France during these international meetings. The new Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castera, must manage her first crisis, and brings together this Monday, May 30 in the morning the organizers of the Champions League final, the police and the local authorities to “learn lessons” and “defining very precisely the dysfunctions”.

On Twitter, MEP Nathalie Loiseau, former Minister for European Affairs under the last five-year term, sees it as proof that “we are not ready for the Olympic Games”. While the socialist senator from the North Patrick Kanner judges France “capable of managing security and crowd movements”. On condition, he declares to The cross, “that the government understands that what happened is not anecdotal”.

“The image of France has been tarnished”, continues the senator who was minister responsible for sports during the Euro 2016 football championship, whose framework, designed in a post-attack context, had not fueled the trials in unpreparedness. Incidents had certainly broken out in the streets of Marseille, but linked “structural hooliganism” Russian and English supporters. The Minister had moreover obtained the attribution of the Rugby World Cup in an unexpected way, thanks to the “French safety record”.

“As for rugby, the public who will attend the Olympics will not be the same as that of Saturday”, sweeps aside François Cormier-Bouligeon, LREM deputy for Cher. The president of the study group dedicated to sport at the Assembly specifies that the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games has been working on it since 2017.


No incidents in the fan-zones

Of the 70,000 Britons expected in the capital, Only 20,000 had been able to obtain their ticket for the Stade de France. UEFA allocates quotas to the two finalists and reserves a third of the 75,000 seats for its commercial partners and broadcasters, in particular.

To watch the game on a giant screen, the English supporters without tickets therefore partly massed in a fan-zone of 12e district of Paris, where the authorities did not count any incidents, but where the ground was strewn with abandoned rubbish.

people from Madrid, less numerous, were welcomed in a fan-zone in Saint-Denis.



Football: in Paris, an English wave for the Champions League final

The Parisians have already begun to see them arrive under their windows, the day before the match. Tens of thousands of Real Madrid and Liverpool FC supporters are expected in the capital to attend, on Saturday May 28 from 9 p.m., the final of the Football Champions League, opposing the Spanish club to their English adversary at Stade de France, in Saint-Denis. While the Ministry of the Interior fears overflows, “6,800 police and soldiers are mobilized”, according to the police headquarters.

Law enforcement will be engaged on two fronts. On the one hand, they will have to accompany the flow of these men and women who have come to encourage their team in the sports arena, each camp having been entitled to 20,000 places in the stands which can hold 80,000 people. On the other, the security services will supervise the crowd of supporters without tickets, mainly English. And many of them will proudly wear the red jersey of the most popular club in the country.

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According to the Ministry of the Interior, there could be 40,000 in this case, motivated by the hope of buying sesame on the black market or, above all, of spending a good evening in France following the match on a screen, a beer in hand. This massive displacement does not surprise sociologist John Williams, professor at the University of Leicester. ” I’m part oflaughs this academic, football specialist, who is also a supporter of Liverpool. If you have a ticket, I’m interested. »

“It’s a real cultural fact”

Seen from France, this type of behavior may surprise. Not England, let alone Liverpool. “It’s a real cultural fact,linked to the very long history of English football and the stability of the clubs, notes sociologist Patrick Mignon, who hosts his colleague. We move, we travel, it’s an experience. It is transmitted from generation to generation and it is not only young people. You also have fathers and sixties like John. But it’s not just for Brits. We also see this phenomenon in the Netherlands and Germany. »

Like his compatriots without tickets, John Williams will go to the “fan-zone”, a space specially designed for Liverpool supporters in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. Surrounded by a “protection perimeter”, the venues have been designed to accommodate up to 44,000 people, with entertainment and a giant screen. They will be open from the beginning of the afternoon. “It will be possible to eat and drink”, specifies the prefecture.

“UEFA does not give enough tickets to fans”

Similarly, Scottish supporters of Glasgow Rangers and German Eintracht Frankfurt had surged towards Seville during the recent Europa League final. “It’s another way of experiencing the final, notes the English sociologist. You can experience being abroad among the fans, enjoying the atmosphere before the game and celebrating the success of the club. Even being there in Paris is more exciting than watching the match at home. It is also a way of protesting against UEFA, which does not give enough tickets to fans…”

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He also fears more attempts to break into the stadium than fights in the streets. ‘Liverpool fans don’t have a reputation for being hooligans’ he recalls. Scarred by the tragedies of Heysel (39 dead in 1985) and Hillsborough (97 dead in 1989), the club has paid dearly for the violence of part of its public in the past. Since then, as in the rest of England, a mixture of repression and consultation, added to the increase in ticket prices, has restored calm. “There has been a lot of work done, with a desire to transform the image of the city and the supporters”, continues Patrick Mignon.

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Real Madrid supporters are invited to go to a more modest fan zone, which will be able to accommodate 6,000 of them, in Saint-Denis. But the area around the Champs-Élysées will be closed to fans of both teams until Sunday May 29 at 6 p.m. The sale and consumption of alcohol will also be prohibited near the Stade de France. But not inside.