After the 2021-202 season, characterized by a series of incidents at the stand, sociologist Nicholas Hourcade is an associate professor of social sciences and a supportive expert at the Ecole Central de Lyon. Yes, we will take the time to analyze the causes and consequences of these incidents. For sociologists, lessons need to be learned from this dire season at the stands, with one priority being to reestablish dialogue between supporters and various institutions.
Franceinfo Sports: The season is just over. What is your rating for this enamelled movement with numerous incidents at the stand?
Nicholas Hour Cade: I can’t wait to finish (laughs). It was a very complicated year. Many things were wrong on both sides of the supporters and the people who manage them. Furthermore, the revival of the far-right demo! Tensions between supporters and managers related to football transformation also marked this year.
Are you surprised by the explosion at the beginning of the season?
Yes, especially depending on the scale of the incident. Is this a situational phenomenon due to the return of the general public to the stadium after the health crisis, or is it a structural phenomenon with more violent supporters than before? I think it’s both bits. Many incidents in the first half of the season may be related to the excessive excitement caused by the return to the stadium. But we also feel that the Ultra Group and the Hooligan Group have already been more violent for several years before Covid.
Why are you getting nervous?
There are status factors related to the post-Covid period. As mentioned above, not only the excitement of the supporters, but also the loss of habits of certain match organizations and the difficulty of hiring stewards. Also, since the latter half of the 2010s, the super-movement has gained momentum and competition between groups has taken root.Tensions began again this season after months of matches audience. Since then, football is undergoing a complete transformation. Transition from L1 to L2 to 18 clubs, closed league projects, investment fund arrivals …
Proponents are confident that they guarantee the integrity of the club and will intervene to protect the club. It can lead to violent incidents such as actions against management and players (recently Paris, Lyon, Nantes, Red Star).Nicholas Hour Cade
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The result of all this is that the authorities’ response is oppressive and prefectural legislation prohibits the movement of supporters …
The problem is not the suppression of the necessary violence, but the way it is carried out. France features collective measures such as stadium closures, stands and travel bans. EInstead of targeting the problematic supporter, he attacks all supporters. Britain and Germany did not eradicate the hooligans, but targeted violent individuals and removed them from the stadium.
Why these methods?
It is easier and less expensive to ban movement and shut down the platform than to mobilize police and judges to identify and sanction individuals.
Our mode of repression is not effective and produces a twisted effect. We should return to the progress made between 2016 and 2019 with better coordination between oppression and prevention, better predictions of evacuation, and a reconciliation of security and freedom.Nicholas Hour Cade
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It seems that the spirit of 2019 Nunez Circular sent from the Ministry of Interior to prefectures is far away. She advised them to ban visiting supporters from traveling only as a last resort. This year there was a travel ban festival because of the month that makes these measures unjustified. Nevertheless, the Governor of Loire Atlantic has banned residents of Nantes from wearing FCN jerseys in their city!
Why lack of dialogue with this supporter?
Politicians demanded individualization of sanctions, but the testimony did not obey the words. I also get the impression that the world of football, including certain observers, is waiting for very visible sanctions for exhibition reasons. This year’s INS [Instance nationale du supportérisme] It was completely hidden. However, it is an ideal advisory body as it brings together all stakeholders. why ? You have to ask the Minister of Sports. Maybe she didn’t really understand what this tool was made up of and what it could bring to relieve and relieve tension. INS, which seems to be reduced to communicating the voice of supporters, is an organization for interaction between sports and public institutions, clubs and supporters.
What does the National Directorate General for the fight against hooligans do?
DNLH does not seem to play the regulatory role it was able to play between 2017 and 2020 anymore. However, this country’s regulations are necessary to avoid abuse by certain prefectures.
Do reference supporters still have weight?
In the world of football, reference supporters are being considered more and more. On the other hand, it seems that the dialogue between the club and the prefectures was insufficient this year.
Can recent dialogue and progress resume?
I’m not optimistic. I don’t know what will happen next year. Overall, the season tends to be pessimistic. However, for some time the exchange was resumed within INS. Hopefully we can learn from this season’s dysfunction to get better next year. Perhaps also the new sports minister will be able to obtain this document and manage it effectively.
Is there a problem with the club?
Authorities, leagues, clubs, supporters, everyone needs to play their part. But in my opinion, the impetus must come from the state, from above. It holds the club accountable and must not give it to the club. Clubs must strive to build constructive relationships with supporter groups that vary widely from city to city.
The Celtic cross, studded with tricolor, decorated by Lorient and Reims supporters last May, is not a trivial event. We haven’t seen what we have to be vigilant for 10 years.Nicholas Hour Cade
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What role does the desire for power to be involved in the club’s life play in this phenomenon?
The current tensions between clubs and supporters are related to the evolution of football, especially the economy. The history of football in the 21st century is characterized by the fact that supporters have become and are recognized as club actors. This role was praised when some of the British stands opposed the Closed League project. From time to time, proponents may feel that they are the only ones who oppose economic changes that break certain traditions of the sport, such as Marseille vs. Eiro or Bordeaux vs. Longepe.
Fans often raise serious issues. Better regulation of football, whether in the form of clubs or competitions, will be useful for national and international institutions. The Super League project is aimed at non-currently mobilized supporters, especially those in front of the television. The most enthusiastic supporters feel that football can be more than a sport they have learned to love, which explains their mobilization.
Dimitri Payette called for calm again at the UNFP Trophy Ceremony, but in your opinion, does he have the right to position himself in this way?
It’s good for players to get involved and try to educate their supporters.But it all depends on what Paiette means “Clean the stand”.. For now, Karcher is doing it to use famous expressions that are not effective. Cleaning the stand requires the meticulous work of mobilizing all players for the individual raising the issue. It’s not about reaching out to all your supporters, it’s about aiming exactly. The stand should be cleaned with a brush, not Karcher.
Which club should follow the example?
Strathbourg is clearly a good example. That’s an interesting case because the club had to start from scratch and try to rebuild on a healthy foundation. Fans have been actively involved in this reconstruction. This includes not only concrete things such as regular interactions between the club and its supporters’group, but also the very concept of where the supporters occupy within the club. The public is often emphasized and is itself an element of strengthening the club. The same process seems to be happening on the Toulouse side.