After a year marked by travel bans, fans want more flexibility from authorities

Extraordinary back pedal.originally prohibited By prefecture Traveling to Dijon for the restart of Ligue 2, 400 Saint-Etienne supporters were finally able to witness the greens’ defeat (2-1).Saturday, July 30th. Their arrival conditions were still strictly regulated by a separate decree. To get to the Gaston Gérard stadium, we had to take a bus escorted by the police, which did not allow us to go into the city centre. “This is the best solution and has been validated by the Saint-Etienne supporters.”Frédéric Carré, secretary general of the department of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

The latter justified this measure as follows: “overflow” It was observed in ASSE’s last official match against Auxerre. However, there was no animosity between the supporters of Dijon and Forres. In fact, the meeting took place without the slightest accident. In a statement, the Advocacy Association of Stéphanois Supporters (which brings together the three Ultra Groups) welcomed: “Dialogue among Stakeholders”.

This decision contrasts with trends observed in the 2021-22 season, even with restrictive prefectural orders. At least 129 trips by fans to follow the team have been restricted or monitored, according to a tally by . Association of National Supporters (ANS)The latter said it was unprecedented since the 2015-16 season, when a state of emergency was declared following attacks in Paris and in front of the Stade de France.

“Some matches are complicated to organize, like Marseille vs. Paris or Lyon vs. Saint-Etienne.”Pierre Barthélemy, attorney at the National Supporters Association, said: But decrees, issued without competition in sports or “stands”, justify them at first sight.

For example, in October 2021 Marseille supporters could not go to Clermont. “They also banned the inhabitants of Nantes from coming to the Velodrome, but there was no animosity. Reminds me of Mathieu, a member of the ultragroup MTP (‘Marseille Tout Puissant’). I understand a hot trip to Lyon, Saint-Etienne or Paris, but otherwise…”

MTP, a group of OM supporters at a reception in Lyon on 10 November 2019.  (NICOLAS MILLET / HANS LUCAS via AFP)

“It’s up to the club to make sure the most passionate supporters are at peace.”, relieves Frédéric Carré. Overflow, including visiting supporters, is sometimes deplorable. “But the world of advocacy sold to people is not real.continue the faithful Ultra Marseille. People think it’s a violent world where everyone fucks. I’m 44 and a father, I’m getting old!

“There are idiots everywhere, but there are some very good stories out there.”, observes Hippolyte, a young Rennes supporter. This his 21-year-old accountant travels across France with his girlfriend to support Rougee his noir. “At first it was just one woman, but now there are about 30.”, he laughs. Despite not being known as ‘hot’, Rennes supporters have relatively escaped arrest.

To make matters worse, decrees are often issued days before the meeting. “I work in a travel agency, so I can add options to train tickets. But otherwise…”Valentin, Messin accustomed to traveling, sighs. “As a result, we are starting to get used to expectations.”continue the thirties.

Like him, other supporters buy tickets at the “classic” stand, in the middle of the fans of the team playing at home. In fact, their safety is less guaranteed than in visitor parking.

Lençois supporters at the Parc des Princes during the match between Paris Saint-Germain and RC Reims on April 23, 2022. Visitor parking was closed.  (MAXPPP)

In most cases, prefectural ordinances prohibit visitors from displaying elements of support for their club to opponents when they are in the city center. “This was the case with Angersreports Hippolyte. I still wore my jersey to go there, and when I arrived, Angevins took a picture with me…” For him these statutes “Useless”Some even see it as a form of “lazy” Governor.

“In 90% of the cases, it is clearly the Commissioner who does not want to be bothered with upstream travel arrangements and D-day management.”

Pierre Barthélemy, Attorney for the National Supporters Association

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These scenarios are more topical when compared to rules elsewhere in Europe. “In Rotterdam everything was under control.Mathieu refers to the match between OM and Feyenoord in the Europa League semi-finals in April 2022. There was a fun zone with food and drinks and everything went well. ” Same story as Hippolyte in the Rennes match in London in March 2019 during the knockout stage of the Europa League: “I scored 6000 against Arsenal., I was a little apprehensive. I thought there was going to be an incident, but the police handled it very well.”

On the contrary, in France, multiple feedbacks criticize the power of order attitudes. “The police sometimes think they’re cowboys.Garnet supporter Valentin sighed. In 2014 in Lille we were hunted by dogs. They took out tear gas as we were celebrating. It was the first game in Ligue 1 in six years! ”

“Before the game in Nantes, the association leaders went to the police for advice. They ended up with batons and a total of 11 stitches!”

Hippolyte, supporter of Rennes

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These statements recall what happened on the sidelines of the last Champions League final at the Stade de France. The government then widely condemned the actions of British supporters and denied police responsibility. “Thanks to these events, the subject was revivedtestifies the lawyer Pierre Barthélemy. She reopened the National Support Authority and met the actor. From the feedback we had she was very attentive.

This glimmer of hope is in line with the progress planned ahead of Covid-19. Therefore, in the fall of 2019, a circular from the Ministry of the Interior provided for prefectures to limit travel bans.

A report by Marie-Georges Buffet (PCF) and Sacha Houllier (LREM), submitted to Parliament in May 2020, also goes in this direction. Unfortunately, the 2020-21 season was largely behind closed doors. Various incidents during the last financial year prevented the positive signs from materializing. “We are confident that these orders will decline.Pierre Barthélemy guarantees. But we are so high that we can only go down!”