in Paris, an English wave for the Champions League final

The Parisians can already see them arriving under their windows the day before the match. Tens of thousands of supporters of Real Madrid and Liverpool FC are expected in the capital to attend the final of the Football Champions League on Saturday, May 28 from 9 p.m. Dennis. While the Ministry of the Interior fears flooding, “6,800 police and soldiers are mobilized”, according to police headquarters.

The police will be deployed on two fronts. On the one hand, they will have to accompany the flow of these men and women who come to cheer their team on the sports arena, as each camp is entitled to 20,000 seats in the stands that can accommodate 80,000 people. On the other hand, the security forces will monitor the crowd of unticketed supporters, mainly Englishmen. And many of them will proudly wear the red jersey of the country’s most popular club.

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According to the Ministry of the Interior, in this case there could be 40,000, motivated by the hope of buying sesame on the black market or especially spending a good evening in France after the game on a screen, beer in hand . This massive displacement does not surprise sociologist John Williams, a professor at the University of Leicester. “I am part oflaughs this academic, football specialist, who is also a supporter of Liverpool. If you have a ticket, I’m interested. †

“It’s a real cultural fact”

Seen from France, this kind of behavior can surprise. Not England, let alone Liverpool. “It’s a real cultural fact,related to the very long history of English football and the stability of the clubs, notes sociologist Patrick Mignon, who receives his colleague. We move, we travel, it’s an experience. It is passed down from generation to generation and it is not just young people. You also have fathers and sixties like John. But it’s not just for Brits. We also see this phenomenon in the Netherlands and Germany. †

Like his ticketless compatriots, John Williams heads to the “fan zone”, a space designed especially for Liverpool supporters in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. Surrounded by a “perimeter protection”, the venues are designed to accommodate up to 44,000 people, with entertainment and a giant screen. They are open from the beginning of the afternoon. “It will be possible to eat and drink”, indicates the prefecture.

UEFA gives too few tickets to fans

Likewise, Scottish supporters of Glasgow Rangers and Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt had flocked to Sevilla during the recent Europa League final. “It’s a different way to experience the final, notes the English sociologist. You can experience being among the fans abroad, enjoying the atmosphere before the match and celebrating the success of the club. Even being in Paris is more exciting than watching the game at home. It’s also a way of protesting against UEFA, which doesn’t give enough tickets to fans…”

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He also fears more attempted burglaries in the stadium than fights in the street. Liverpool fans don’t have a reputation for being hooligans he remembers. Marked by the tragedies of Heysel (39 dead in 1985) and Hillsborough (97 dead in 1989), the club has paid dearly for the violence of some of the public in the past. Since then, as in the rest of England, a mixture of repression and deliberation, along with the rise in ticket prices, has restored calm. “A lot of work has been done, with the desire to transform the image of the city and its supporters”, continues Patrick Mignon.

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Real Madrid supporters are invited to move to a more modest fan zone, which will accommodate 6,000 of them, in Saint-Denis. However, the Champs-Élysées area will be closed to fans of both teams until 6 p.m. Sunday, May 29. The sale and consumption of alcohol is also prohibited in the vicinity of the Stade de France. But not inside.

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