Soccer

“They were treated like animals” … The chilling story of Liverpool supporters in the Senate

in the senate,

From the window of the Talleyrand salon, at the Jones Day regulation agency in the 1st district of Paris, Ted Morris took out his telephone and took some photos of the Jardin des Tuileries, simply to mark the event. Because that is most likely the final time the president of the Liverpool Association of Disabled Supporters, himself in a wheelchair, returns to the French capital. Still closely marked by the occasions of May 28 throughout the Champions League closing, he needed to struggle to cross the English Channel once more to return right here to testify earlier than the Senate Inquiry Committee, along with his assistant Joe Blott, chairman of the Champions League. the influential affiliation of Reds followers. The spirit of Shankly.

It was their obligation to journey in individual to convey the voice of the 1000’s of English supporters nonetheless “traumatized” by the Stade de France. “We cannot convey the similar feelings in a video convention,” he advised us two hours earlier than the listening to. In his bag embroidered in Liverpool colours, he retains the testimonies of the “sick, blind, disabled, wheelchair-bound, Hillsborough survivors” who for the most half feared for his or her lives after they got here to us. soccer recreation.

For an excellent hour, their faces nonetheless lined with scars, the two males advised us the objective of their go to: “To shed full gentle on what actually occurred, to demand the launch of an investigation, impartial of UEFA, and to reply to Mr Darmanin’s lies, as a result of we can’t permit it to be mentioned, as your Minister did, that Liverpool supporters are accountable for all this. “

When he summons the Secretary of the Interior, Joe Blott tries to regulate his anger. “His lies and false accusations added to the already big trauma of the followers. No matter how a lot he apologizes, he won’t erase all the injury he has accomplished, “he mentioned. “He ought to be ashamed and resign,” mentioned Ted Morris. Two hours later, earlier than the fee of inquiry, these phrases turned a requirement: “We need Mr. Darmanin to resign.”

Chilling critiques and shocked viewers

Before listening to their testimony, the chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee, Francois-Noel Buffett, would like to make clear one level: . Everyone could be very clear on this. Ted Morris nodded and thanked the senator for these heartfelt phrases, after three weeks of refusal by the French authorities. He then pulled out his paperwork and handed on the chilling tales offered to him by Liverpool supporters with disabilities. Here are three which are sufficient to grasp the horror skilled by 1000’s of supporters on May 28.

  • “F, 8-year-old, autistic, who got here along with his father and 13-year-old brother and located himself pushed to the gates of the stadium, gassed by the police, separated from his father and older brother in a crush and who was afraid to die.” .
  • “S, 13, in a wheelchair stored below the bridge close to the stadium, attacked by gangs of thugs earlier than being gassed by the police. When they threw gasoline, he thought the police were dropping bombs, he thought he was at the top of the battle in Ukraine.
  • “N, who suffers from a number of sclerosis, has been gassed thrice by the French police. He has had a relapse since that day and could be very, very sick in the present day. “

Francois-Noel Buffett listens from his desk, trying severe. And with him were the fifteen senators who traveled Tuesday afternoon. “What occurred is a shame to the French authorities,” Maurice mentioned. Adherents with disabilities were treated like animals by individuals who needed to defend us. Instead, in addition to gassing and pushing us, they left us alone after we were attacked by gangs. We had no alternative however to flee to flee. We won’t ever forgive the authorities, they’re the solely ones accountable for this fiasco. “

“They took us for hooligans”

For his half, Joe Blott mentioned that these occasions had made the “fats cabbage of the press round the world”, recalling that the worldwide scale of this organizational catastrophe was nonetheless wanted, and that, one yr after the World Rugby Cup and two years since the Paris Olympics. For this skinny connoisseur of the Liverpool “supporters” motion, which exhibits about sixty European journeys – “with out the slightest downside of violence” – on the counter, “the French police remained caught in the 80’s.”

“They took us for hooligans,” he breathes. It was these false, dangerous prejudices that led the French police to disregard the suggestions of their British counterparts, who nonetheless advised them in a report that Liverpool followers were accustomed to behaving in the most peaceable means attainable. »

According to the president of the “Spirit of Shankly”, “listening to the French authorities repeat the similar lies as 33 years in the past, throughout the Hillsborough catastrophe, reopened big wounds and brought about nice ache and grief” to the Reds in northern England. “In France, he concludes, you see soccer followers as an issue, not an answer. These phrases unusually mirror what the consultants in the stands condemned throughout the yr for the administration of the supporters of the French championship.

France now not is aware of tips on how to govern its supporters

This might be mentioned by Ronan Ewaine, government director of the Football Supporters Europe Association, who accompanied Joe Blott and Ted Morris to the Senate. “They were treated precisely as we deal with our supporters all through the yr: as a menace. This is a harmful, outdated strategy. France is just not an island and should be taught from Europe’s greatest neighbors in phrases of “supporter” administration.

It is in this sense that lawyer Pierre Barthelemy, an knowledgeable on supporters and an observer from the FSE on the night of the closing, determined to finish these hearings. “We are additionally right here in the present day to look to the future as a result of we’re in a position to enhance. The Senate has additionally typically been a significant participant on these points, in explicit by its wonderful report with the blatantly provocative title “Should We Be Afraid of Supporters? however full of good contacts. »

In eight factors, the lawyer describes what France must do to cease being the laughing inventory of the world and the worry of international supporters. These embrace permitting and supervising marches by educated police forces, higher understanding the profiles of membership supporters, higher coaching and paying stewards, who are sometimes younger and poorly paid, systematizing particular person sanctions as a substitute of collective and finish of this doctrine (normally French) for 100% repression and 0% dialogue.

Before thanking and releasing the viewers, the chairman of the Legal Committee requested Pierre Barthelemy to supply him with this record in order that these suggestions wouldn’t be forgotten as quickly as the session ended. This is the very objective of these hearings and the most cherished want of the representatives of Liverpool followers. And Joe Blott concludes: “We do not do it only for us, we do it for followers round the world who love France, we do it for you, for the picture of your nation. France has the distinctive alternative to attract conclusions from this catastrophe earlier than internet hosting the Paris Olympics. Thank you for listening to us. »

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