Sixteen months after the Champions League final chaos in Paris and just days following the proclamation that France had learned its lessons, they proved they had, in fact, not.
The fallout from the 2022 Champions League final continues, an event that was deemed “remarkable that no one lost their life,” with safety failures almost leading to a “mass fatality catastrophe.”
On that night in Paris, serious congestion problems outside the Stade de France saw thousands of fans penned in against perimeter fences, with heavy-handed police treating fans with contempt.
There were rightly concerns over France’s ability to safely hold the Rugby World Cup this summer and, subsequently, the Olympics next year.
My lads in Marseille with a few mates for the Rugby and just sent this about 7:15pm. His words “The French are at it again” pic.twitter.com/Dl42LWCJAD
— JohnKeithGreen (@JohnKeithGreen2) September 9, 2023
And only days ago Sports Minister Amelie Oudea Castera insisted they had “done a tremendous amount of work to learn the lessons” from Liverpool’s final.
This is the same minister who blamed ‘ticketless’ Liverpool fans and the ‘specific risk’ they posed for the 2022 events.
“It will be an outstanding moment of sport. This Rugby World Cup is set to be exceptional as France organises it alone for the first time,” Castera declared.
Well, on only the second day of the competition as England met Argentina in the group stages in Marseille, hundreds of supporters missed kick-off, and there were again scenes of crowd crushing.
The incompetence continues to put spectators straight into danger and evidently, the lessons from 2022 have not be learned as videos and images on social media proved.
As with the 2022 Champions League final, dangerous policing at events like this in France is an extension of the violence many French people face from the authorities on a daily basis.
It is abhorrent.
— Daniel Austin (@_Dan_Austin) September 9, 2023
The scene at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome exactly 30 mins before kick-off with thousands of fans queuing on steps outside ground to get inside.
World Rugby and France 2023 “working with all stakeholders to establish the facts and implement measures to prevent such delays” pic.twitter.com/v6GWnhlTfJ
— Dan Roan (@danroan) September 10, 2023
Getting into the Stade Velodrome in Marseille yesterday was messy, to those going today leave earlier, the stadium cannot handle big numbers through limited gates while checking your ticket at two separate points, it also didn’t help the vibe when they ran out of beer… pic.twitter.com/u6w2wA4p1h
— John Smit (@JohnSmit123) September 10, 2023
Supporters were again funnelled into a small area to enter the stadium and their organisation in getting thousands of people into the ground were shambolic.
The incompetence continues to put lives at risk, and it is frightening that France continue to be awarded major international events.