Accused of lying by the opposition but officially supported by his camp, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin is under fire from criticism after his declarations on the number of counterfeit tickets during the Champions League final at the Stade de France .

In the eyes of the first “cop of France”, those responsible for the failure of the security system during the Champions League final on Saturday were quickly found: “30,000 to 40,000 English supporters” came to the stadium, “either without ticket, or with falsified tickets”, he quickly denounced, evoking a “massive, industrial and organized fraud”.

These figures, first mentioned by the Paris police prefect Didier Lallement in a two-page report sent to the Minister of the Interior on Sunday, have since been confirmed by the French Football Federation (FFF).

It is an “intangible fact”, even said government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire after the Council of Ministers.

Before the Senate Law and Culture Committee, at the start of the evening, Gérald Darmanin hammered home that “110,000 people” showed up “in and around” the Stade de France, i.e. “35,000” supporters more than the expected gauge .

He said that “images prove the return during the first half and then during the second half of very many British supporters, who left in particular via the RER D”.

However, this stubbornly defended argument remains highly criticized in England but also in France, by the opposition, the media and observers present on the spot. Even police and government sources interviewed by AFP are skeptical.

The Minister of the Interior “took over the figures from Lallement without checking”, according to a police source. Result: “He now finds himself like an idiot”.

“The reality is that it’s Lallement who still crashes everyone,” says an adviser close to the executive.

Gérald Darmanin, just confirmed in his post in the Borne government, “has a fake news side”, he stings. “He says to himself that it speaks to the base” and “he prefers a simple but exaggerated message, to a protean and less understandable message”.

“He has the very Sarko side of I trust and then I go and we’ll see”, according to a majority parliamentarian, recalling the heated debates on the Global Security Act.

Raised to third rank in the government, Gérald Darmanin “is very cyclical”, according to this deputy. “It is when he is in a phase of very high confidence that he is most in danger”.

However, he has “the full confidence of the President of the Republic”, said government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire, after the Council of Ministers, ruling out the possibility of a departure.

In this electoral period without a “honeymoon” for Macron and the government and an increasingly tight balance of power with the left for the legislative elections according to the latest polls, “there would be a real danger in depriving yourself of Darmanin”, says political scientist Pascal Perrineau. “Could the prefect serve as a fuse?” he wonders.

Several police sources told AFP that Didier Lallement had already mentioned, long before the incidents at the Stade de France, his desire to leave the “PP” at the end of the summer to return to his original administration, the Court of Auditors, before retiring.

The oppositions, they reserve their arrows to the Minister of the Interior.

“This Stade de France fiasco is becoming a denial and a political catastrophe for the executive,” castigated Socialist Senator Patrick Kanner, former Minister of Sports. “Gérald Darmanin is a mixture of Pinocchio and Madame Irma”, he launched on Sud Radio.

“A minister who lies is bad news and does not bode well for the coming five-year term,” said LFI MEP Manuel Bompard, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s right-hand man, on Franceinfo.

Marine Le Pen denounced a “serious lie” by the Minister of the Interior and estimated on France 2 that he “should consider on his own that he must leave”.

01/06/2022 20:05:45 –         Paris (AFP) –         © 2022 AFP