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Champions League chaos caused ‘severe damage’ to France’s image: government report

A chain of “failures” by French authorities marred the chaotic Champions League football final in Paris on May 28, inflicting “severe damage” on the image of the country, a government report said Friday.

The scenes at the Stade de France “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” said the report, as Paris prepares to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and 2024 Olympics.

But the 30-page report did not point fingers at the police or other actors in particular for the mayhem that marred the final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, emphasising the extraordinary nature of the situation

The author of the report, Michel Cadot, the government’s inter-ministerial envoy for Olympics and other major sporting event preparations, wrote the triggering factor was the “uncontrolled influx of additional members of the public without tickets or with fake ones, in unprecedented proportions”.

But Cadot said Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin’s initial claim that as many as 40,000 Liverpool fans who massed at the stadium were to blame for the chaos should be “relativised”.

The report recommended the creation of a national committee to pilot major international sporting events, similar to the one already created for the Olympics. 

“Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has asked the interior and sports ministers to take up the recommendations to put them in place without delay,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement. 

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