individual sanctions, in camera … What solutions to incidents involving supporters?

Montpellier, Nice, Lens, Angers … Despite a quality show on the ground, Ligue 1 is distinguished in spite of itself by repeated invasion of the field. For now, the Professional Football League (LFP) favors collective sanctions, like the closed-door matches inflicted on OGC Nice and RC Lens. But these measures, which penalize tens of thousands of spectators, are criticized.

« It is too restrictive and disproportionate an attack on freedoms », launches to franceinfo: sport Pierre Barthélémy, lawyer of the National Association of supporters. The latter also points to the lack of effectiveness of these measures, and relies on the example of smoke bombs: « The more we set up in camera, the more pyrotechnics there is. So it has no impact. »

Individual sanctions could be a solution. These would be made possible by the presence of cameras in the stadiums, in order to identify the troublemakers. « We have extended their use, but we are not yet at the point where we can use them effectively », indicates Thierry Granturco, lawyer specializing in sports law and mayor of Villers-sur-Mer (Calvados). « We would stop sanctioning 40,000 supporters for 50 idiots », he adds. A position shared by the Minister Delegate in charge of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu.

In this sense, the Nice supporter who kicked Marseillais Dimitri Payet was sentenced to one year in prison and banned from the stadium for five years.

In the stands, security is ensured by stewards. But with the cessation of competitions and then the closed session due to a pandemic, a strong renewal was noted within the workforce. « There are changes of up to 75%, confirms Pierre Barthélémy. There are training issues.  »

At the same time, this season marks an almost systematic return of supporters to the visitors’ stands, after several seasons where municipal and prefectural decrees have severely constrained travel. But for Pierre Barthélémy, these restrictive measures have lost the experience of managing « hot » meetings: « During Lille-Lens fifteen years ago, we had a real no man’s land of ten rows with gates on both sides ». Far from the simple barrier that separated the two camps in Bollaert on Saturday. From an infrastructure perspective, the installation of nets can also prevent projectile throwing.

According to the civil code, the organizer of a football match, in this case the receiving club, is the first responsible in the event of incidents. A position sometimes difficult to assume, as evidenced by the back-pedaling of the President of Nice Jean-Pierre Rivère after the incidents against Marseille. « We should change the sports code, insists Thierry Granturco, but it would take years. In fact, we end up with the same rules for a PSG-OM as for a Celine Dion concert! « 

Foreign examples can also serve French football. Because, contrary to popular belief, these public order problems in stadiums are not exceptions in France. « It’s much worse in Italy, or in the lower English divisions, compares Barthélémy. 10,000 people are banned from stadiums in England, at least 4,000 in Germany, and only 300 in France. « 

The Germanic experience can be a source of inspiration. « The Fanprojekt are tripartite agreements between the Federation, communities and clubs, develops Patrick Mignon, sports sociologist at INSEP. They are made up of social workers, who work in relation to the police in a tradition of de-escalation. «  Far from what is observed in France, according to the sociologist: « The examples of ZADs and yellow vests show that we are not in this strategy », he concludes.

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