PARIS (AFP) - The chief of the Paris police acknowledged Thursday the “failure” of security operations for the Champions League final last month, when crowd control problems, tear gas and street crime marred the biggest night in European club football.
“It is obviously a failure,” Didier Lallement told a commission investigating the fiasco at the French Senate. “It was a failure because people were pushed around and attacked. It’s a failure because the image of the country was tarnished.”
Lallement and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin have been under severe pressure since the May 28 match after they initially blamed the chaos on as many as 40,000 Liverpool fans who massed at the stadium without tickets or with counterfeit tickets.
That figure has been widely disputed since by witnesses and media using images from the ground, leading Lallement to face repeated questions from senators who grew frustrated at his responses.
“Perhaps I made a mistake with the figure I gave to the minister,” he said, saying he had based his estimate on the numbers of people using public transport and from feedback from officers on site. “I never claimed that it was absolutely accurate.”