French PM Borne orders ministers to follow Olympics model for sports events

·3 min read

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Friday slapped down two of her top ministers Gérald Darmanin and Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and ordered them to make sure their departments follow procedures set up by organisers of the 2024 Paris Olympics to avoid the harrowing scenes that blighted the Champions League final at the Stade de France.

Borne's edict came hours after it emerged that hundreds of hours of video footage from security cameras around the stadium had been deleted.

The latest bungle failed to appear in an initial report from a government logistics supremo into the security fiasco around the showdown on 28 May between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Michel Cadot, the inter-ministerial delegate for the Olympic Games and other major events, said there was a series of failures including poor policing.

The debacle destroyed the kudos French organisers hoped to gain 16 months before the country hosts the rugby World Cup and two years before the most glittering of all sporting extravaganzas – the Olympic Games.

Cadot's 30-page report added: "The highly publicised scenes of operations to restore order have raised questions from outside observers about our country's ability to deliver and succeed in the major sporting events for which we will soon be responsible."

In an attempt to stop another shambles, Borne told Darmanin and Oudéa-Castéra to learn from the Olympics teams who have established a series of groups to coordinate the details of various events.

She wants the ministers to create a team of experts from their departments to ensure future events in France involving international athletes are efficiently organised and pass off peacefully.

"The Prime Minister has instructed the Interior Minister and the Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games to take up the recommendations the report contains to implement them without delay," said Borne's office in a statement.

Fans mistreated

In the prelude to the Champions League final, police held thousands of Liverpool fans in a bottleneck for two hours and later sprayed teargas in attempt to break up the crowds as gangs of youths infiltrated the queues to steal valuables and get into the stadium without tickets.

In the wake of the final, both Castéra-Oudéa and Darmanin hit out at the Liverpool fans.

Darmanin lambasted industrial scale ticket fraud and said as many as 40,000 Liverpool fans without legitimate tickets congregated on the stadium concourse.

Their versions of events were eventually undermined by media reports and video images taken by Liverpool and Madrid fans.

Just days before Cadot delivered his analysis, Darmanin maintained his initial stance during his appearance before a special Senate panel of France's most senior politicians who have been convened to investigate the events of the night.

A report of their hearings – which included evidence from Paris's top police chief as well as the mayor of Liverpool – is expected within weeks.

Cadot's review highlighted a breakdown of the control and security system and the poorly controlled influx of people without tickets or with fake tickets.

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