Football: government strengthens security measures against violence in stadiums



A highly anticipated turn of the screw. Gathered at Place Beauvau around representatives of referees, club presidents, the Professional Football League, the French Football Federation, ministers Gérald Darmanin (interior), Roxana Maracineanu (sports) and Éric Dupond-Moretti (justice) have unveiled, Thursday, December 16, a series of measures to strengthen security in the stadiums. These decisions come as incidents have multiplied in the stands since the start of the season.

→ ANALYSIS. Football: against overflows in stadiums, rules that are too vague

The sale and carrying of plastic bottles, sometimes used as projectiles, will therefore be prohibited within the stadiums. One of them had reached the head of Dimitri Payet, player of Olympique de Marseille (OM), during the match against Olympique Lyonnais (OL) on November 21.

Mandatory anti-projection and anti-intrusion devices

Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs must also all equip themselves with at least “An anti-projections device (nets)” and “An anti-intrusion device”, specifies the interministerial press release. “These devices must be available and usable on a case-by-case basis” and not permanently, adds the press release. No net had been installed during the match between Marseille and Lyon and during the Nice-Marseille meeting, two months earlier.

Another important decision: the systematic and definitive stopping of matches “When a referee or a player is physically injured by a projectile coming from the stands”. “Be careful not to put too much power in the hands of a few people who might try to use this measure to stop a match”, warns Ronan Evain, director of the Supporters Europe association, even if he assures that “The measures announced are generally fair and balanced”.

The government has also deemed the legislative arsenal sufficient in terms of stadium bans. He nevertheless indicated that a reflection will be carried out for the possible creation of a fixed tort fine to sanction the introduction, the possession and the use of smoke, rockets and other pyrotechnic material in the sports enclosure. The potential amount of the fine has not yet been defined. “These decisions are going in the right direction, is satisfied Pierre Barthélemy, lawyer of the National Association of supporters. The government has understood that the main problem is not pyrotechnics but acts of violence. This would make it possible to avoid unduly mobilizing justice and disciplinary bodies. “

30 minutes flat

The crisis management process has also been redesigned. From now on, the decision to continue or not the meeting will have to be made. “Within a maximum period of 30 minutes”. Club leaders are excluded from this crisis unit, formed around the referee. This decision echoes the behavior of OL president Jean-Michel Aulas during the match against OM. The Lyon manager had been threatening against the referee in order to get the match resumed. As such, he was suspended for ten games, five of which were suspended by the LFP, Wednesday, December 15.

The cabinet of the Ministry of the Interior also opened up other avenues for reflection during a press briefing held at the end of the meeting. The introduction of a nominative ticket office is thus envisaged in the longer term. A measurement “Difficult to set up and which would complicate the lives of spectators”, according to Ronan Evain.

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