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Like many Liverpool fans, Ted Morris had a horrible Saturday at the Stade de France for the Champions League final. This 58-year-old Englishman, disabled and in a wheelchair, should have benefited from the attention of the stewards and the police.
Caught in the midst of the chaos, the secretary of the club’s disabled supporters’ association admits to having “feared for his life”. For him, this chaos started very early, long before the bottlenecks and problems at the gates of the Stade de France. He arrived at the venue very early due to his disability, explaining having seen flights as early as 3 pm “We saw an incredible number of people being robbed by pickpockets around the stadium,” he begins.
Around 6 pm, he goes, with his wife and two daughters, to the door of his house in the compound. “This was where the first check was made to see if the tickets were real, with palpation, describes Morris. At the time, there were many local youths trying to fit into this security cordon. There was almost no police presence. Come on, to be fair, 5 policemen who were armed, but who did nothing to intervene.
Brought to the disabled entrance, this fan who has already traveled Europe to support the Reds quickly realizes something is wrong. According to him, three people in wheelchairs had been waiting for more than an hour because “nobody was attending to them.” “It was silly,” he says. People lined up with valid tickets but weren’t scanned by stewards, who seemed completely lost. No one knew how to redirect people whose tickets didn’t work. »
We are then an hour from the start of the game, and the tension is increasing on the esplanade of the Stade de France. Fortunately for him, Ted Morris calls someone inside the club who allows him to enter the premises. But not everyone was so lucky, even among the supporters of his association. “We had an 8-year-old disabled boy who was tear-gassed by the police, a man in a wheelchair as well. The blind followers were separated from their companion and found themselves alone on the esplanade. It was terrifying.
“And you know the worst? The police laughed”
After the match, Ted Morris and his family leave the Stade de France in an environment he describes as “toxic”. After passing through many police forces waiting under a bridge, Ted heads towards an RER station. “As soon as we crossed the bridge, we were attacked by hundreds of local game. They were running at us from all sides trying to rob people. It was crazy. And there were no more police to protect us. Why ? »
Arrived at the station, the English fan thinks he is safe. “The police then sent us pepper and tear gas bombs, flashbangs. She put us in danger. He ended up returning safely to his hotel, then home. But a week later, he admits that he is still in shock. “We had disabled women who were victims of sexual assault, we had people in wheelchairs who had to be carried through the bars, he laments. We had disabled supporters who feared for his life, and I’m not exaggerating. It was the most traumatic moment of my life. »
On the verge of tears, he recovers and becomes angry when talking about the methods of the French police. “What the police did that day is a shame for the French people and the people of Paris. We came to watch a football match. Imagine being totally blind and pressed against the railing, waving your cane in the air for help. And do you know the worst? It’s just that the police were laughing. They were making fun of us, as if it was all a game.”
And he even bristles when asked to react to the words of Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who accused “30 or 40,000 Liverpool fans without tickets or with counterfeits” of being responsible for the chaos. “What I want to tell him is that he resign. He spat out lie after lie. We are all in psychological shock and he is making things worse. He assumes your responsibilities! Accept the blame! And make sure no one who comes to your country has to go through this. When I think that the rugby world cup is going to be held there, the Olympics… I can’t even imagine how France (stops)… And if they’re going to do it, they have to take a serious look. the mirror and take measures to protect people. »