A working group and avenues to be dug: security measures in the stadiums will be proposed “in two weeks“, announced Tuesday the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin after a meeting with French football, faced with worrying serial incidents.
Qualified as“absolute urgency” by the president of the Professional Football League (LFP), Vincent Labrune, the file was taken over by the government after new overflows this weekend, including the stoppage of the Lyon-Marseille match for a plastic bottle thrown at a player.
“We have agreed to work together on four topics”, explained Gérald Darmanin who received in Beauvau the leaders of French football, club presidents as well as the ministers of justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, and Sports, Roxana Maracineanu.
Gérald Darmanin suggests working in four directions to resolve this problem that the public authorities have been stumbling over for years.
These are firstly stadium bans for offending supporters, and “the question of securing the stadiums itself”, he detailed.
The minister then spoke of “the question of private security” in the stadiums: some stadiums could be better trained and the control of access to the stadium strengthened. “Finally, arguably the most important question on Sunday, the process of deciding who to stop a game.” with the respective roles of the referee, “essential” according to the minister, and the prefect, “since there is a question of public order”, he added.
For his part, Vincent Labrune has “thanked the government for its responsiveness”, claiming that French football “presented himself in a united, supportive and determined manner”.
“It’s an absolute emergency, we are aware of our responsibilities”, he said.
The debate on security in football stadiums is not new; what is is the frequency of the overflows.
The slippages began in August during Nice-OM (throwing projectiles, invasion of land and general brawl) and accumulated until Sunday, leading the government to react.
“It’s good, the power had to react and quickly. We must mark the occasion to stop this cycle”, analyzes a source close to the authorities of French football. “Taking the matter in hand at a higher level will have an impact because the supporters will see that everyone is aligned”, hopes a French football leader on condition of anonymity.
The sporting response, as well as the judicial one, was not long in coming.
The disciplinary committee of the Professional Football League (LFP) sanctioned Lyon on Monday with a closed-door match as a precautionary measure.
The author of the throwing of the bottle was arrested on Sunday and the player targeted, the Marseille captain Dimitri Payet, filed a complaint.
A six-month prison sentence, along with a stadium ban for five years, was required Tuesday against the respondent, 32 years old and tried in immediate appearance. The court was due to deliver its judgment by the end of the day.
“Amply sufficient laws”
The political response was therefore missing, after a semblance of a response in September in the form of a ministerial letter addressed to the LFP.
“It will be difficult to come up with concrete answers right now”, tempered a source close to the mysteries of French football, anticipating the announcements of Gerald Darmanin.
For several years, and in particular since 2016 and the Larrivé law which has strengthened the power of clubs in maintaining order in their stadiums, most players have considered that the legislative arsenal is sufficient.
“The laws are very numerous and amply sufficient. The problem is to properly stem the phenomenon because it tends to renew itself”, valued Dominique bodin, sociologist specializing in issues of violence in stadiums, teacher-researcher at Paris-Est Créteil.
What more can the authorities do? “It is played at club level, not really at the level of the legislator”, provides a specialist in maintaining order.
The question arose on Sunday about the safety nets that could have prevented projectiles from reaching the players when they go for a corner.
There are none in the Lyon stadium, while the clubs have full latitude to install them. This did not prevent the president of OL Jean-Michel Aulas to estimate that the stadium was “hypersecure”.