Violence between supporters: how to better prevent it?



Desperate repetition. The seventh day of Ligue 1, this Wednesday, September 22, however, did not present high-risk posters. It prevents. The sad spectacle of the invasion of the lawn, which began on August 22 during the Nice-Marseille meeting, and reproduced on Saturday September 18 for the clash between Lens and Lille, had a third episode after the final whistle between Angers and Marseille.

This draw (0-0) would become even more so, with first exchanges of various projectiles between the two “kops” of supporters requiring the intervention of stewards and CRS. The ace. A few die-hards managed to break the security cordon to punch the green square.

A few hours earlier, near Montpellier, it was a bus of Girondins de Bordeaux supporters who fell into an ambush at the exit of the motorway by opposing fans: paving in order, broken glass … and 16 injured Bordeaux side, some of which need to be taken to hospital.

A phenomenon affecting other countries

“There is undoubtedly a revival of activism that can also be observed in other countries, such as in Italy where a serious injury was to be deplored in a lower division last weekend, or in England during a recent Leicester-Naples, underlines Sébastien Louis, sociologist at the European School of Luxembourg and specialist in radical supporters. We can probably attribute the phenomenon to the frustrations accumulated during the Covid period. And note that it is not only ultras who are in the maneuver, the images showing in these disorders sometimes known hooligans, but also lambda supporters. “

→ HISTORY. Greens close to relegation and club sale

Against this violence, the response of the football authorities, with rare exceptions, until then has been limited to collective sanctions. On August 8, the Montpellier supporters were the first to ignite the fuse by throwing bottles against their Marseille counterparts. Consequence: the Disciplinary Commission of the Professional Football League punishes the club with a closed session for three matches. Against Nice, it was also three games behind closed doors, plus two points of suspension, one of which was suspended. The Lens club, for its part, has been sanctioned for the moment by two games behind closed doors as a precaution, pending the results of the investigation on October 6.

“If Nice had been sentenced to 10 or 15 games behind closed doors, I am not sure that the supporters of Lens would have entered the field”, reacted the Montpellier striker Valère Germain, one of the few players to take a position on the subject. On the contrary, many experts point to the limit of these collective sanctions.

“There are three times more closed doors today than ten years ago, and ultimately that does not deter anyone, underlines Me Pierre Barthélémy, lawyer of the National Association of supporters which brings together about forty Ultras groups in France. In the current legal arsenal, individual sanctions are however possible, but are rarely applied: barely 200 people in France are banned from the stadium, against 10,000 in England and 4 to 5,000 in Germany ”.

An organization to review in the stadiums

This individual component makes it possible to exclude supporters identified by a judicial ban (up to five years, taken by the judge), administrative (for two years, and three if recidivism, taken by the prefect), or commercial (refusal to sell ticket up to 18 months, taken by the club) requires a thorough investigation using the video surveillance systems that equip most stadiums today. “Obviously, it is easier to impose a closed door or as a preventive measure to prohibit the movements of supporters”, regrets Me Barthélémy.

→ THE FACTS. Football: the match Nice – Marseille will have to be replayed behind closed doors

For Sébastien Louis, the solution also involves a reflection around a round table “Putting the groups of supporters in front of their responsibility, stakeholders of the problem but also of the solution. An upstream preventive component added to individualized sanctions would make it possible to move forward. Just like a meeting between those in charge of security in the stadiums to exchange good practices. “

During Lens-Lille, the intervention of the security forces effectively avoided too violent contacts. Elsewhere, the events reveal some shortcomings in the organization of parking for visitors, or in buffer zones between supporters that are too narrow. “75% of the stewards have also been renewed since the Covid period, with the loss of skills that this generates”, assures Me Barthélémy. Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu recently acknowledged that in terms of training too, “We have to think together with the clubs”.

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Prison required against a Nice supporter

One year of imprisonment including six months suspended: this is the penalty required Wednesday, September 22 against the Nice supporter guilty of a kick against the Marseille playmaker, Dimitri Payet, on August 22 during the Mediterranean derby. This 28-year-old temporary worker was filmed by the stadium’s CCTV cameras, the first to enter the pitch and move towards the Marseille player.

He has “Ashamed of his gesture” and is in “An attitude of repentance”, pleaded his lawyer Me Benjamin Taïeb. The lawyer of the Professional Football League, Mr.e Benjamin Peyrelevade, for his part, underlined the need to stop these incessant overflows in the stadiums by asking himself: “We wonder what will be the next step”. The decision was put under advisement as of September 30.

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