09 September 2022

IOC has ‘full confidence’ in French security services despite CL final chaos

09 September 2022

The French security services enjoy the “full confidence” of Olympic executives ahead of the Paris 2024 Games despite the chaotic scenes at the men’s Champions League football final earlier this year.

The match between Liverpool and Real Madrid on May 28 kicked off more than half an hour late, with France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin initially insisting the delays were due to large numbers of Reds fans turning up without tickets.

However, a French senate report published in July said Darmanin had unfairly blamed Liverpool supporters, who were tear-gassed as the police held them at the outer perimeter of the Stade de France.

IOC president Thomas Bach has full confidence in the French authorities (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

The senate report said fans had been made the scapegoats “to divert attention from the inability of the state to adequately manage the crowds present”, highlighting failures around communication, transport and how the authorities engaged with supporters.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on Friday there had been a number of meetings with the French authorities, including at the IOC’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the matter had been discussed.

“We can really say we have full confidence in the French security authorities,” the German said.

“They have drawn the right conclusions from the incidents on the occasion of the Champions League final and they enjoy our full confidence.”

The Stade de France will host athletics and rugby sevens at the Paris Games (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

The Stade de France is due to host the athletics and rugby sevens competitions at the Games in just under two years’ time. The northern suburb of Paris in which the stadium is based, St Denis, will also host other sports and is the setting for the Olympic Village.

The IOC’s executive board approved a new human rights framework on Friday, which it said would be applied to the selection of future Games hosts.

Asked whether Beijing would have been awarded the 2008 summer and 2022 winter Games had this framework been in place at the time of the city’s selection, Bach added: “This is very speculative. What can you say about countries which may be in line for Olympic Games in 2034, about which countries are we talking?

“What will the conditions in these countries be by then? This is mere speculation and therefore, we cannot enter into this.”

Bach was asked whether the executive board had discussed a recently-published United Nations report which found strong evidence of human rights violations towards members of the Uyghur Muslim population in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.

“We have of course taken note of this report with regard to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 which fall within our remit,” he said.

“The IOC worked together with the organising committee to ensure that all the obligations in the host city contract were met, and if you read the report by the UN High Commissioner and you look into the recommendations, which are directed to the wider society, there is the call to respect the UN GPs (guiding principles) and that is what we are doing.”

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