Pressure mounts on France after CCTV footage of chaos from Champions League final deleted

Pressure was mounting on French authorities on Friday after the surprise revelation of CCTV footage from the Stade de France during last month’s Champions League final was suppressed, with critics alleging a deliberate cover-up. The French Football Federation revealed to a French Senate committee on Thursday that the images had been automatically destroyed without a warrant from the judicial authorities, in accordance with French law.

The revelation adds to controversy after crowd control issues, tear gas and street crime marred the final at the Stade de France in Paris between Liverpool and Real Madrid on May 28. France’s reputation has taken a hit, as noted in a government report on Friday. He said the French authorities’ “chain of failures” had inflicted “serious damage” on the country’s image.

Opposition politicians have seized on the latest revelations on CCTV footage to hammer the authorities. “It’s called covering the tracks,” the far-right leader of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen, told BFMTV on Friday.

“The fact that there are no CCTV images covers up their huge lies,” Le Pen added, pointing to the French government’s initial claim that “industrial-scale” counterfeit banknotes were used. caused pandemonium. Police asked Stade de France for the footage, but only Thursday evening after it became public that the footage had been destroyed, a source familiar with the matter told AFP on Friday.

“Yesterday’s information that the images would not be kept for a month, but only a few days, led us to request them,” said the Bobigny prosecutor’s office, in charge of the investigation into the counterfeit notes. The State of France is authorized to store CCTV images for up to 30 days, but the servers only have the capacity to store them for seven or eight days.

Read also : Timeline of Champions League final chaos: UEFA launch investigation, UK PM slams French officials

On Twitter, French police said on Thursday that footage taken by Stade de France cameras may no longer exist but that police still have their footage. But the socialist vice-president of the Senate law commission, David Assouline, said on Friday on franceinfo “stunned” by the news, adding that it demonstrated an “incredible lack of coordination” between the police and politicians.

Liverpool Mayor Steve Rotheram, questioned by the Senate Committee after the FFF delegation, said he did not “understand why the videos were destroyed”. “We are heading straight for a state scandal,” the leader of the opposition Les Républicains (LR) faction in the Senate, Bruno Retailleau, told RFI radio, adding that the destruction of CCTV footage was a “intentional act… the evidence disappears”.

But ruling party MP Aurore Berge told RMC radio that there was enough evidence for the investigation. “We have plenty of eyewitness accounts and images that should guide (investigators) nonetheless,” Berge said. Thursday, the prefect of police of Paris Didier Lallement admitted before the senatorial commission in charge of investigating the chaos of May 28 that the operations to secure the final of the Champions League were a “failure”.

Read also : UCL final chaos: Paris police chief admits possible mistake on fake tickets

“It was a failure because people were pushed around and attacked. It was a failure because the image of the country was tarnished,” he said. Lallement and Home Secretary Gérald Darmanin initially blamed the chaos on as many as 40,000 Liverpool fans who flocked to the stadium without tickets or with counterfeit tickets. This figure has since been widely disputed by witnesses and media using images from the field, and Lallement admitted yesterday: “Maybe I made a mistake in the figure I gave to the minister”.

He acknowledged that there were not 30,000 to 40,000 “at the gates of the stadium” but affirmed that several thousand were “around” the Stade de France police roadblocks north of the capital. Many Liverpool fans struggled to enter the stadium causing kick-off to be delayed for over half an hour and crashing at the entrance gates, where police fired gas tear gas.

The government’s initial decision to blame Liverpool fans for the problems has caused tensions between France and Britain, while raising questions about Paris’s ability to host the Rugby World Cup next year and the Olympics in 2024.

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Post expires at 1:10pm on Monday June 20th, 2022