Football / League 1. How to appease the stands, faced with the multitude of excesses?

Why so many incidents?

Match halted at Nancy and Red Star, smoke bombs at Saint-Etienne, anger at Lyons and resentment at Paris SG… After the frenzy of autumn, spring is once again moving in the stadiums.

“It is difficult to make a general analysis, because all these phenomena are different and do not require the same answers,” deciphers Nicolas Hourcade, sociologist specializing in supporterism.

Pyrotechnics and battles between ultragroups “already existed”, the sociologist notes, but they are “returning with greater acuity because of the long hiatus due to the health crisis”.

“As for the protest against the clubs, it is a typical phenomenon of supporters posing as guarantors of their club’s identity, towards shareholders or managers whose policies they criticize,” the sociologist continues.

Another explanation is the sometimes broken dialogue between groups of supporters and certain clubs, a “disconnection” denounced by Kilian Valentin, spokesman for the National Association of Supporters (ANS). “The actual break in the dialogue that occurred during the Covid continued as it resumed. The groups came into contact with leaders who had forgotten them,” he laments.

The gap has also widened with the National Directorate for Combating Hooliganism (DNLH), the spokesman underlines, and also points to the quietness of the National Support Authority (INS) since December, a roundtable that brought together all stakeholders.

What impact of government measures?

The excesses of the autumn led to a tightening of ministerial screws in December, with a clarification of the decision-making process especially for the suspension of matches, and a reminder to the prefects and prosecutors about the available repression tools.

As for the procedure, the crisis unit that met during emergency defections last weekend in Nancy (match definitively interrupted) and in Saint-Etienne (game resumption) “very well” welcomes a source close to the Professional Football League (LFP ) .

As for individual stadium bans, which had expired for many during the health crisis, they have resumed, but “it takes time,” admits another source familiar with the matter. The troublemakers of the excesses of Angers-OM on September 22 must therefore be identified on the side of Marseille.

But various security responses irritate supporters. At least 116 ministerial or prefectural orders banning travel have been identified by the ANS in all championships this season. “We want the DNLH to return to the field and do its substantive work with the prefects,” teases Kilian Valentin.

Another point of tension is the collective sanctions of the disciplinary committee of the LFP, which multiplies the number of booth closures.

“There were drums in December, but I have the impression that we are going back to old recipes when the mobilization should have made it possible to react strongly to violent individuals,” estimates sociologist Nicolas Hourcade. “Since the incarceration, France has made massive use of grandstand closures and travel bans, which we do not see in neighboring countries. †

How to find peace

Several regulatory changes are expected in the off-season.

The upcoming obligation for clubs to install anti-burglary and anti-projection devices (protective nets), which can be activated depending on the level of risk of the match, should come into effect, such as the effective ban on plastic bottles, an important measure that was adopted in December.

The fixed fine for possession or use of rockets or fireworks, voted in February in the sports law, is already in effect.

“It is especially necessary to restart the dialogue within the INS and with the DNLH, in the rhythm that existed before the Covid”, pleads Kilian Valentin, who also calls for “a thorough renewal of the disciplinary committee”.

Within the clubs, security audits will strengthen certain specific positions. And the LFP does not rule out integrating these safety criteria towards the financial windfall of new shareholder CVC, which is expected off-season.

“The clubs that have the most glaring problems will have to invest more directly in these problems,” said a source close to the body.

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