French security authorities have learned from this year’s Champions League football final incidents and can be fully trusted to safeguard the Paris 2024 summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday.
The Champions League final — the last match of Europe’s premier club competition — in June at Paris’ Stade de France between Real Madrid and Liverpool was delayed by more than 30 minutes after officers forcefully held back people trying to enter the stadium grounds.
Riot police had also sprayed tear gas on fans, including women and children as thousands of ticket-holding fans from both teams missed the final.
European football’s governing body UEFA later apologised for the fiasco.
Much of the blame was initially placed on Liverpool fans by France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin but authorities later acknowledged police were caught off-guard by several hundred local “delinquents” who turned up to cause trouble.
The Paris police chief a few days later called the operation ‘a failure’ both because fans were harmed and the image of France was degraded.
“After a number of consultation visits, follow-ups… and other bilateral conversations I can say we have full confidence in the French security authorities,” IOC President Thomas Bach told an online news conference.
“They have drawn the right conclusions from the incidents on the occasion of the Champions League final and they enjoy our full confidence.”
Paris will host the Games in two years time, kicking off with an opening ceremony along the river Seine through the city centre that is expected to attract some 600,000 spectators and is a major security operation by itself.
Paris has been on high alert since a series of jihadist-inspired attacks in which 130 were killed and hundreds injured on Nov. 13, 2015.