Emmanuel Macron, the disappeared from the Stade de France – Les Cahiers du football |


On February 25, following the invasion of Ukraine, UEFA announced that the C1 final would be relocated from Saint Petersburg to Paris. Emmanuel Macron, seeking to pose as a peace mediator in the conflict, strongly work in this direction.

« UEFA wishes to express its thanks and gratitude to the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, for his personal support and commitment to bringing the most prestigious game in European club football to France at a time of unprecedented crisis“, indicates the press release of the European authority.

With this strong and highly symbolic gesture, Macron clearly shows his position: he makes this final a personal matter. We are therefore entitled to think that he will monitor the file very closely, a marking in the panties in a way.

But the dominant feeling since Sunday is that of a power vacuum. More than the outrageous declarations of the Minister of the Interior, and the manworkRes of diversion or invisibility à la Gérard Majax attempted by the other leaders (while sending lamplighters to the front), the deafening silence of the usually talkative president is indicative of a deep malaise.

If playing the watch often pays off in football, it is not always the same in terms of political crisis.

Emmanuel Macron at the Stade de France, May 2017 (photo elysee.fr)

Speed ​​or precipitation

The violence of Gerald Darmanin’s tweetlast Saturday evening, followed by his speech on Monday morning, evoke one of these desperate counterattacks launched by the followers of the kick and rush. A Pavlovian attempt at an all-rightist « route one football » doomed to failure.

Certainly, we did not expect Barça from him, but the time is badly chosen to make Stoke City fit in. State number four declares with a bang in his head that « 30,000 to 40,000 English supporters ended up at the Stade de France without tickets or with falsified tickets« , figure confirmed, he specifies, « by UEFA, by the Stade de France, by the French Football Federation and of course by the Prefecture of Police. »

Despite the hindsight, Gérald Darmanin rushes to this improbably sourced version and will not let go of the piece. The accumulation of irrefutable facts and testimonies will quickly take care of establishing the falsity of his assertions, but nothing helps, he does not budge.

However, it would have been not only prudent, but also easy to calm things down from the outset by apologizing, at least « as a precaution », while promising to shed full light on the incidents that occurred.

Especially since this diglossia is untenable, political newspeak coming crashing down on the language of truth (supported by numerous images): no one believes in the Darmanian version, and especially not in these « thousands of British supporters, without tickets or with counterfeit tickets which forced entry and sometimes assaulted the stewards ».

This aspect, as well as the negligence of the organization, which bears worrying similarities to the Hillsborough tragedy, have been widely dissected in the press (see here Where the). The point here is therefore not to redo the match.

As an observer of British society and football for forty years, I would simply stress this essential point: to blame England and Liverpool fans, however tempting it may be for Darmanin, is a dangerous game. And we know how easily dangerous situations can lead to an « autogoal ».

Coaster and « apologies »

Since last Saturday, the English media and supporters have not taken off. Darmanin’s disastrous communication touched an extremely sensitive point which only rekindled the painful wounds of Hillsborough, whose legal conclusion was not completed until May 2021.

Human bruises (97 dead, 766 injured) but also politico-judicial, as politicians and institutions have seriously failed in their duties for more than three decades. Tom Werner, the president of the LFC, today calls France to account and demands an apology.

The minimalist performance that Darmanin, whose « English football » software was stuck in the 1980s, delivered to the Senate on Wednesday (analyzed here), is symptomatic of government denial of both the realities of Hillsborough and the Dionysian incidents.

The tempo of the news gives the impression that things are settling, but France’s passivity constantly weighs down the note. The international media report serious facts daily and the extreme right rushes into this boulevard to counter-attack aggressively.

Emmanuel Macron, who is said to be particularly concerned about France’s image abroad (Release reports for example his reaction to the « Nutella riots » of January 2018), and who has in mind the difficult legislative campaign, must now draw the necessary lessons.

Claiming “full transparency”, welcoming the possible creation of a parliamentary commission of inquiry or “passing blowers” ​​would be illusory as these automatisms are an integral part of the classic choreography of the political game, all in false verticality and wait-and-see attitude.

The urgency is elsewhere: to action, intelligent and resolute. The damage is done and we will have to live with the consequences. However, a relatively dignified exit, necessarily going through major changes in the workforce and a start of reflection on supporterism, is still within reach of the French number 1.

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Editor’s note: the match already seems lost since the president, traveling to Marseille, « reiterated his confidence » in the Minister of the Interior and the Paris police chief, inviting only to « draw the consequences of the match ».



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