After a security failure at the Stade de France marred the Champions League final last month, the French football federation (FFF) has revealed the CCTV footage of the events has been destroyed.
According to reports, the supporters were manhandled, tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed and attacked by local youths during the final between Liverpool and Real Madrid on May 28. Eventually, the start of the game was delayed by around 36 minutes as UEFA blamed the fans for turning up late.
Social media was flooded with footage from the incident that forced the UEFA to issue a half-hearted apology six days later.
Days later, the episode has taken a steep turn after the French Senate investigating the fiasco heard about the CCTV footage getting destroyed. The French law stipulates it must be destroyed within seven days unless it is subject to a warrant from judicial authorities.
“We’re surprised,” the Senate commission’s co-president, , was quoted as saying by AFP, adding that an investigation was opened the day after the game.
“There was plenty of time to request them (the images). We need to understand what happened,” he added.
Lafon further said the debacle at the stadium appeared to be ‘an accumulation of dysfunctions’ linked to a ‘lack of preparation’.
Meanwhile, Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram has questioned after the FFF delegation ‘failed to understand why the videos were destroyed’.
Senate leader Bruno Retailleau added, “everything leads to believe that we knowingly let compromising exhibits be destroyed”.
French police, however, said later Thursday that they still have their video footage from the stadium on the day of the game between Liverpool and Real Madrid on May 28. The chief of the Paris police also acknowledged the ‘failure’ of security operations for the Champions League final last month.
“It is obviously a failure. It was a failure because people were pushed around and attacked. It’s a failure because the image of the country was tarnished,” Didier Lallement told a commission investigating the fiasco at the French Senate.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin blamed “industrial scale” ticket fraud and the presence of 30-40,000 people with fake tickets or without tickets for causing a crush before the game.
That figure has been widely disputed since by witnesses and media using images from the ground.