Interruption of Nice-OM: “violence is part of football but is declining”

The cross : Have we seen more violence in stadiums in recent years?

Sebastien louis : Violence has always been part of football. But, contrary to popular belief, it is less and less present in the stadiums, even if it is more publicized. Lyon-Bastia in 2017, OM-Lyon in 2015 or Nice Bastia in 2013, incidents can actually be counted very easily. And they are less serious in France than in other European countries such as Germany, Italy or Greece.

→ THE FACTS. Football: Nice – Marseille, a match stopped and an open investigation

Previously more numerous, the episodes of violence were also more intense. I am thinking in particular of the Lyon-Saint-Étienne meeting in 1936 where the referee had to be evacuated by the police. Or the OM-Saint-Étienne match interrupted by the public’s appearance on the pitch in 1969.

How can we prevent this type of incident from happening again?

SL : It is always difficult, especially after such a long period of interruption linked to Covid-19, to organize such events. But there were big loopholes in the security system during the Nice-OM match. Indeed, how to explain such a light device to stem the invasions of ground? The movable barriers partly deployed behind the south stand were totally archaic.

Since 2011 in France, the authorities have increased travel restrictions for opposing supporters. This was the case in Nice where only 450 Marseille supporters had made an organized and supervised trip. Instead of these restrictions, prefectures would do better to prevent overflows with more serious systems, such as ropes to prevent access to lawns and better preparation of security personnel who must intervene more quickly.

In addition, the clubs and the authorities should be inspired by the German model where de-escalation is allowed by a permanent dialogue between the public authorities, the security forces, the liaison officer for club supporters and group leaders. supporters.

Is the prefect’s decision to close the southern popular stand for four matches relevant to the arsenal available to the authorities?

SL : Such collective sanctions are meaningless. 150 people penalize thousands of supporters of the popular southern tribune. In addition, these same supporters, who have not been identified, will be able to see the matches in another stand. Better to focus on personalized penalties.

→ ANALYSIS. Clermont Foot, a blow to the Ligue 1

In France, the legislative system concerning the excesses of supporters is largely sufficient. It should be noted that the penalties applied for offenses committed in stadiums are generally more severe. It is therefore useless to want to impose new laws. Or worse, to dissolve groups of supporters, which reinforces the feeling of victimization of the ultras and has the effect of scattering potential troublemakers, complicating the work of the security services.

It also happens that violent incidents take place outside the stadiums between small groups of radical supporters. It is therefore better to keep them in their stands to create a festive atmosphere, rather than seeing them fall into violent behavior in the form of informal gangs.


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