According to information from our colleagues at RMC Sport, at least 2,800 counterfeit tickets were scanned by the machines responsible for authorizing or denying entry to the Stade de France. An assessment confirmed by Agence France-Presse, which interviewed sources familiar with the matter. All of these tickets were presented at the UK supporter gates. Monday, May 30, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, announced that “30,000 to 40,000 counterfeit notes” had been spotted, without providing any factual elements to corroborate this estimate.
For the first time, it is therefore possible to assess the extent of the fraud in terms of counterfeit tickets that circulated during this Champions League final. “This figure, real because verified by the scans, is very significantly higher than what generally happens on this type of event, where a few hundred counterfeit tickets at most are identified”, points out RMC Sport.
The 2,800 “scanned counterfeit tickets”, according to sources close to the case, are a figure “to be taken with caution”, according to Me Barthélémy, lawyer for French supporters’ groups and present at the match on Saturday evening. “E-tickets had to be activated, and there were breakdowns, computer bugs at the gates that caused some real tickets to be scanned as fake,” he explains. “I want as proof of this the testimony of Robertson, the Liverpool player, who offered official tickets to relatives. Once at the turnstiles, they were told that these tickets were fake,” recalled Pierre Barthélémy.
On the other hand, Agence France-Presse had revealed, earlier this Tuesday, that the authorities had been warned of a risk of excesses by the National Division for the Fight against Hooliganism (DNLH). This warned against the presence “of approximately 50,000 English supporters […] who will not be ticket holders”. “Some of them,” the widely circulated police document reads, “will be in possession of counterfeit tickets and will attempt to use them to enter the stadium.”
After the excesses on the sidelines of the final of this queen competition on the European continent, the sporting affair has become political. Indeed, most French opposition parties have called for the establishment of a parliamentary commission of inquiry. At the same time, Gérald Darmanin – for the Interior – and Amélie Oudéa-Castera – for Sports – must be heard this Wednesday, June 1 by the Law and Culture Commissions. Goal for senators? Ensuring that the state has learned the lessons of this evening, a few months before the Rugby World Cup and two years before the 2024 Olympics.
At the same time, UEFA announced on Monday the opening of an “independent” investigation to shed light on these events. In addition, London has been rebelling since the first hours of this controversy against the accusations of the French government targeting Liverpool supporters. On the other side of the Channel, only the system put in place by the Paris police headquarters is in question.
In a letter to the Minister and published by the daily newspaper Echo of Liverpool, Tom Werner – chairman of the Liverpool club – expressed his “utter disbelief” that Minister Oudéa-Castera could make “a series of statements unproven on a matter of such importance,” even before an independent investigation has been held.
“Your comments are irresponsible, unprofessional and completely disrespectful to the thousands of physically and emotionally hurt fans,” he added, saying he had received countless emails from “scared to death” supporters and denouncing “a strategy seeking to attribute blaming others through a press conference”. “On behalf of all the fans who experienced this nightmare, I ask for an apology from you, and assurances that the French authorities and UEFA will allow an independent and transparent investigation to take place.”