the great transhumance of supporters with or without ticket

The Football Champions League final, which faced Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France (Seine-Saint-Denis) on Saturday 28 May, will long leave a bitter taste in the minds of supporters of the English club. More than the defeat of the “Reds” (1-0), the chaos scenes around the Dionysian fence began to tarnish the memory of a day that had begun festively in the streets of Paris.

Also read: Champions League: Controversy over organization after chaos at Stade de France

A real red tide had invaded the capital and in particular the fan zone installed in the Cours de Vincennes, in the 12e Township. It was always packed as the match approached: while 20,000 Brits had the precious ticket to the Stade de France, about twice as many Brits watched the final in front of the giant screens set up for the occasion or in Parisian bars.

“Even without a ticket it’s so worth it”

An impressive number, but not surprising. It is in the culture of the “Scousers” to support their team in the four corners of Europe. With or without the prospect of going to the stadium. Rohan Sood, 22, from London, assured Agence France-Presse before kick-off: “Even without a ticket, it’s so worth it. † After all, doesn’t the club song say? “You are never alone”“You never walk Alone”

A total of 70,000 Reds supporters were expected in the capital this weekend. As Paris replaced Saint Petersburg at short notice, devoid of competition after Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine, the preparatory meetings were linked to define the host system for the meeting.

More than any other sport, football unleashes passions and hosting an event of this magnitude imposes constraints on organizers, from managing the security perimeter around the stadium to regulating the sale of alcohol, including setting up and maintaining fan clubs. zones.

According to the Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, and the Sports Minister, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, there is a link between the massive transhumance of the English in Paris and the incidents around the stadium. “Thirty thousand to 40,000 supporters found themselves without tickets or with forged tickets in the Stade de France”, confirmed Mr Darmanin on Monday 30 May after a ministerial meeting.

Numbers “fantasy”, swipe Ronan Evain on Twitter, general manager of Football Supporters Europe, an association accredited as an observer of matches with the Union of European Football Associations, and on site on Saturday.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Incidents at the Stade de France: the government’s denial despite a failing organization

The version of the French authorities is undermined by the accounts and testimonies of journalists – the athletic, DW, Sky Sports, BBC – who attended the events. Liverpool police officers, deployed to the scene as observers and liaison officers, further pointed out that “the vast majority” supporters “Behaved in an exemplary manner, arrived early (…) and stood in line” as requested.

Violent clashes in Tirana

The massive displacements are not specific to the fans of the “Reds”, nor just the English supporters. On May 25, the final of the Europa League Conference between AS Roma and Feyenoord Rotterdam took place in the National Arena in Tirana (21,000 seats). More than 100,000 Italian and Dutch supporters left for Albania. The day before the meeting, violence broke out in the city. About 20 police officers were injured, including one with a knife, by moving between the two camps. Ten supporters went to hospitals for treatment, the Albanian police reported.

A few days earlier, on May 19, some 130,000 Germans and Scots had traveled to Seville, Spain, for the game between Eintracht Frankfurt and Glasgow Rangers in another final, that of the Europa League. Despite the arrest of five German supporters after an altercation with opponents before kick-off, no major violence was reported. On the other hand, some Scots claimed a “terrible experience” at the Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, because of the overzealousness of the security system. As the temperature hovered around 40°C, some of them were denied water and food, leading to fainting.

This transhumance brought back some memories for the Andalusians: in 2003 more than 80,000 fans of Celtic, the other club from Glasgow, had come to the city by road or air to watch the UEFA Cup final between their team and FC Porto to experience. Most had already arrived without seats for the game, sometimes ready to sleep on the street.

Especially among the British, this phenomenon of ticketless travel has intensified in recent years. “The fundamental difference of the past twenty years has been the democratization of low-cost flights: this promotes travel by supporters. Today, in addition to the presence and entertainment in the stands, mass travel is clearly becoming a source of pride,” observed mister Evain at the World for the final at the Stade de France.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Incidents at the Stade de France: can France guarantee the safety of the 2024 Olympics?

The observation is shared by the author and football historian David Goldblatt, unsurprised by the red tide of tens of thousands of Liverpool fans in Paris. “There has been a huge trend for two decades among young English and Scots to take cheap planes and spend a weekend in a city drinking. Add to that the football, now on a giant screen… It’s definitely a different experience from a pub in the north of the UK,” argues the Londoner.

One thing’s for sure, it’s not likely to happen this fall, during the World Cup in Qatar. Without a ticket it is impossible to book accommodation on the official platform or to apply for your Hayya Card serve as a visa.

Leave a Comment