Football: why racist cries persist in stadiums, despite the measures?

Samuel Umtiti, footballer crowned with a World Cup in 2018, left the field in tears on Tuesday January 4. It is not the victory of his Italian team from Lecce but the racist cries uttered against him which explain the reaction of the defender.

In recent years, incidents of this kind have multiplied in football stadiums. And particularly in Italy, where players are regularly targeted by the tifosis, the groups of Italian supporters. This is the case of Samuel Umtiti, as well as several Napoli players and the French goalkeeper of AC Milan, Mike Maignan.

However, this problem goes beyond Italian borders and concerns all types of players, stars and unknowns alike. In an interview with the American magazine Sports IllustratedKylian Mbappé, superstar of world football had thus revealed to have been the victim of racist cries during meetings in Russia and Hungary with the France team.

To respond to these incidents, Vinicius Junior, hope in attack of Real Madrid and also victim of invectives, proposed this fall to prohibit access to stadiums to all perpetrators of insults, in order to make them ” suffer the consequences of their actions.. The young Brazilian also denounced the inaction of the Spanish league.

Several measures already implemented in Europe

However, measures already exist in the various European leagues. Since 2007, a Spanish law condemns statements, gestures or insults inside and outside the country’s stadiums.

Faced with this recurring problem in the country, the Italian league decided in 2019 to partially or completely stop a meeting in the event of racist songs or insults. At first, the players are supposed to meet in the central circle, while the announcer reasons with the supporters. If these incidents persist, the referee may end the match.

In France, the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) and the French Football League (LFP) set up a platform the same year to allow victims to report themselves and offer them “legal advice and assistance”.

“However, there is a lack of will and action on the part of responsible institutions, sports, police and the judiciary, as experience shows limited effectiveness of law enforcement”notes researcher Raúl Martínez-Corcuera, a specialist in hate speech at the University of Catalonia, in an article by The Conversation. All these measures, added to the myriad of media campaigns by clubs and supranational federations, are not enough to prevent this hate speech.

Football “liberates archaic impulses”

For sociologist Albrecht Sonntag, a specialist in popular culture, it is sport itself that explains this surge of violence and the inability of the governing bodies to fight effectively against it. Football “frees archaic impulses by channeling them into a need for aggressive humiliation of the rival who draws on verbal violence”he analyzes in a forum on the site ofEurosport.

He too notes that the application of the measures “requires more determination, consistency and discernment. Maybe a little more courage». Rarely, the French Federation (FFF) has announced that it has filed a complaint, after a major wave of racist insults on social networks against French players, following the recent World Cup final in Qatar lost against the ‘Argentina.



2022 World Cup: what will become of the Qatari stadiums?

After the construction sites of the stadiums, and the controversies over the number of deaths they have generated, the time has come for deconstruction.

Of the eight stadiums renovated or built for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which ended on Sunday December 18 with the coronation of Argentina, seven must be partly dismantled or converted into commercial complexes.

Khalifa International

The only existing stadium, the Khalifa International, built in 1976, was renovated and extended in 2017. It had already hosted the world athletics championships in 2019 and will continue to be the home of the national football team of the country.

Stadium 974 (2021)

The Stadium 974, in reference to the 974 containers used to manufacture it and to the international telephone code of the country, had been designed as an entirely dismountable enclosure. “After the tournament, many parts of the arena, including seats, containers and even the roof, will be reused elsewhere, specifies the Qatari tourist office. The stadium itself will make way for a stunning beachfront development that everyone can enjoy. »

Ahmad-Ben-Ali Stadium (2020)

The Ahmad-Ben-Ali stadium, built on the edge of the desert, in Al-Rayyan, was rebuilt on the site of an old stadium dating from 2003 and demolished about ten years later. At the end of the competition, “the top tier and nearly half of the 40,000 seats will be allocated to overseas football development projects,” assure the Qatari authorities, without however specifying which ones.

Al Thumana Stadium

Opened in 2019 in the Qatari capital, the 40,000-capacity Al-Thumana Stadium, which hosted five group matches and a quarter-final match, is set to become a “mixed-use recreation center”.

Al-Janoub Stadium (2019)

Home of the Al Wakrah SC club, the Al-Janoub stadium, which opened in 2019, is expected to see its capacity reduced by half, to 20,000. “The stadium’s modular seats allow half of the seats to be dismantled and transported to a country in need of sports infrastructure”, praise the organizers.

Education City Stadium

Of its 40,000 seats, the Education City Stadium, which opened in 2020 in Doha, close to schools, should keep 20,000 seats for “college athletics”the rest being dismantled and intended for “countries requiring sports infrastructure “.

Lusail Stadium

The largest stadium in the competition, the Lusail Stadium, which opened in 2022, where the final took place on December 18, should also see its number of seats halved from 80,000 to 40,000. of a complex called “Lusail City”, the stands of the stadium will give way to shops, cafes and sports facilities.

Al Bayt Stadium

Designed as a traditional Bedouin tent, the Al-Bayt stadium, built in the coastal town of Al-Khor, in the north of the country, will also be partly dismantled to go from 60,000 seats to 32,000.

He will be “redeveloped to serve the community around it”according to the tourist office, with a five-star hotel, a shopping center, a gymnasium and a multi-purpose hall. “A branch of Aspetar, Qatar’s main sports medicine centre, will open near the stadium. Dedicated tracks for running, cycling and horse riding will promote physical activity,” say the organizers.

“Carbon Neutral”

These transformations are part of the objective of “carbon neutrality” displayed by its organizers for the competition. The Qatari organizing committee had indeed undertaken to ensure that the greenhouse gas emissions released by the event would be offset by supporting CO2 reduction programs.

A Fifa report from June 2021, however, estimated the carbon footprint of the World Cup construction sites at 3.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, a figure much higher than that of previous competitions. According to the Belgian NGO Carbon Market Watch, this commitment to neutrality is not “credible”. At the end of October, the organization awarded a ” yellow card “ to Fifa for claiming this objective, falling more within the greenwashing than a real commitment to the environment.



Greener stadiums, is it possible?

What could be less ecological than a stadium welcoming tens of thousands of supporters for a sporting event? A Ligue 1 match alone generates around ten tonnes of waste; to water lawns, millions of cubic meters of water are needed every year; and hundreds of tons of CO2 are issued to transport the public to each day of the championship.

While eyes will turn in a few days to the air-conditioned stadiums erected by Qatar for the World Cup, some structures in France are already trying to green. With their hybrid lawns, the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roofs or even a rainwater recovery system, they claim eco-responsible behavior.

A growing awareness

Model clubs in terms of sustainable development? Antoine Miche, president of the Football Ecology France association, seems skeptical. “We can of course cite Lorient, which has bet on geothermal energy, or the stadiums of Lyon and Nice, which are renowned for their water recovery system. In reality, they all have their particularity, but not enough to be set up as a model”, emphasizes this specialist. While hoping that the Brest stadium, which should undergo a considerable renovation in the next few years, will be an exception.

“Overall, we can feel a growing awareness in clubs and leagues on environmental issues, believes the former international rugby player Julien Pierre, himself very committed to this subject. But their willingness to take responsibility is not enough. “85% of the stadiums belong to the communities, the effort must come from the top”, he believes.

It remains to pay the price. But today, cities do not provide sufficient resources to properly renovate sports arenas, according to Antoine Miche. “Investments to make stadiums greener run into tens of millions of euros. Cities that are in favor of it often find themselves confronted with a metropolis that does not want it; Or vice versa. Difficult, under these conditions, to obtain sufficient subsidies”, he laments.

Hybrid lawn versus artificial lawn

Despite these political uncertainties, Bertrand Picard, founder of Natural Grass, the French leader in the construction of high-level hybrid lawns, wants to believe that the world of sport will change. “We are constantly approached by clubs looking for solutions to adapt to climate change and to reduce their environmental footprint, he testifies. Our customers are a reflection of society: clubs and leagues obviously want to reduce their environmental impact, but to do so they need solutions that work. »

The hybrid turf specialist speaks with knowledge, because the technology it develops partly embodies the future of stadiums. By hybrid lawn, understand a 100% natural lawn, rooted in a substrate reinforced at the level of the roots by less than 1% of synthetic fibers, kinds of artificial roots allowing a better anchoring of the lawn. The opposite of synthetic turf, made up of 100% plastic materials.

“Hybrid lawns also allow their neighbors to benefit from the benefits of natural grass: combating heat islands through evapotranspiration (the lawn becomes a real natural air conditioner)CO capture2(up to 15 tons per year)dust filtration, retention and filtering of storm water, biodiversity…”, adds Bertrand Picard. According to him, the additional economic cost“about 20%”is offset by lower maintenance costs over the long term.

Access to the stadium, the construction site of tomorrow

For two years, an environmental label, the first in the sports field, certifies the commitment of clubs in terms of ecology. Created by Julien Pierre, Fair Play for Planet defends an economic and social development model concerned with the environment through 350 criteria. Among them, that of the accessibility of sports arenas: “The big subject of tomorrow’s stadiums lies in how to get there”, says the former professional player.

Focusing on carpooling and the accessibility of public transport, the latter regrets that many stadiums are far from urban centers. Although some clubs have set up reduced fares, or even free access, for access to public transport on match nights, the share of spectators coming to the stadium by this means does not exceed 9%, according to figures from the think Sport and citizenship tank.

Sporting events, accelerators of change?

At a time when most observers point to the environmental aberration of the World Cup in Qatar, Julien Pierre calls for a more global reflection on the holding of major sporting events. “Perhaps we should think about regionalizing things, doing less but better, he suggests. The world of sport represents only 1% of greenhouse gas emissions, but it has an exceptional power of communication. You have to surf on it. »

On the Qatar side, the carbon footprint presented by FIFA, equivalent to 3.6 million tonnes of CO2, is once again contested. According to calculations by the company specializing in the assessment of the carbon footprint of major events, Greenly, the competition should release the equivalent of 6 million tonnes into the atmosphere. A result almost twice that envisaged by the international federation. Infrastructure alone represents 27% of the carbon footprint, according to the study.


A heavy environmental impact

According to a study by the online media Youmatter, it is necessary to count:

100,000 kWh of electricity to light a stadium for one match, i.e. the consumption of 20 households in one year.

36 million liters of water for the maintenance of the lawn of the Stade de France for one year. This equates to 720,000 ten-minute showers.

60 tonnes of CO2for car travel by one-third of supporters to an enclosure of more than 30,000 people, for one year. This is the fuel consumption for six round-the-world trips by car.



In search of emotion, the public returns to French stadiums

Delighted, Hervé Beddeleem wears a broad smile when presenting his attendance figures. “When we look at the figures for the years preceding the health crisis, we realize that we have increased our classic subscriptions and our VIP subscriptions. » To explain such a situation, the executive director of BCM Basket (Gravelines-Dunkerque) believes that the maintenance of certain sports competitions, in times of Covid, has nevertheless allowed the public to “to keep a habit and an intimate attachment to sport, while cinemas were at a standstill and people were getting used to video platforms. »

Since the health crisis, the world of culture continues to suffer from public disaffection. The cinemas are gray, the theaters are empty. In this ambient slump, the world of sport stands out. In the stadiums, the public is back. According to Hervé Beddeleem, the festive spirit of a sporting event coincides with a desire of citizens to get together and celebrate positive things together.

“The return of the public would undoubtedly not have been followed without an adequate sports policy, which made it possible to bring in great players and to obtain results which encourage them to return to the stadium”he explains to justify the action of his club, faced with these new challenges. “We practiced special pricing by not increasing prices. Some were even lowered during the Coupe de France,” he remembers.

Implementation of strategies to reengage the public

This positive example does not reflect the whole of French sport. “The 2021-2022 season, which followed the crisis, was particularly difficult. The habits of the public have changed and add to an obvious problem of purchasing power”, tempers Fabien Roy, financial and administrative director of Fenix ​​Toulouse Handball. “We had as many spectators in total, but with the difference that we had twice as many matches, because of our qualification for the European Cup. That says a lot. »

Since the start of the school year, however, the trend seems encouraging: “We are back to our 2019 load factors, although it is a bit early to celebrate. » To remedy this, the club thought about a marketing strategy advocating the “spectacle stadium” where players make themselves available to the public, to encourage them to come to the stadium.

“Everyone plays the game, the players themselves are not above ground, they understand what is at stake”, explains Fabien Roy. The latter wishes to bet on a healthy collaboration between team sports: “Rugby and football players came to watch the handball matches. It’s up to the behemoths to give us a hand, if only to set an example. »

The most popular sports float

Football, the most popular sport in France, is benefiting from a substantial return of the public to sports venues. During the 2021-2022 season – the first full year after the health crisis – the occupancy rate of Ligue 1 stadiums was 73.9% compared to 73% in 2018-2019 and 71% the previous year, according to figures Professional Football League (LFP) officials. Nearly ten million supporters filled the stands of the various French stadiums last year.

These encouraging figures should not make us forget that, faced with its European competitors, the stands of the French championship are less attractive. In the Premier League, the English football championship, the occupancy rate fluctuates around 92%. In Germany, the rate remains around 95%. Only Spain and Italy seem to have lost spectators in recent years, still ensuring an occupancy rate of over 80%.

“We are going over the figures for 2019”

On the rugby side, while the first figures for the 2022-2023 financial year will soon be revealed, we are pleased with a rediscovered pre-Covid influx. “No doubt taking advantage of the 2023 World Cup effect and the good results of the Blues at the Six Nations Tournament, we see that we have achieved the best attendances in our stadiums for a decade”relates Thibault Brugeron, media manager for the National Rugby League. “This is due in particular to a massive communication campaign, at the end of the health crisis, to encourage people to return to the stadiums. »

Alain Béral, president of the National Basketball League, mentions an attendance rate in the stadiums of more than 80% this year. “We are in the process of going above the figures of 2019.”

For this leader, the aspect ” serial “ offered by the field of sport can explain the reasons for a return to normal. “Apart from obtaining broadcasting rights, which are certainly important, our priority for ten or fifteen years has been to bring people to the stadiums, which explains why our sport is perhaps ahead of others. others in France »testifies the latter.

Sport, a “personal commitment”

The main sports therefore seem to be doing well. For Robin Recours, lecturer at the Faculty of Sports Sciences in Montpellier, this is explained by “the immense catharsis space” offered by sports fields. It can be played “all the dramas of humanity. We can experience, during a match, a gigantic palette of emotions, ranging from laughter to tears, from anxiety to deliverance, from anger to sadness or joy. explains the historian.

Unlike the world of music or the theater, there are also strong personal identifications with the product in the consumption of sporting events. “An amateur basketball player identifies as a basketball player. It is therefore important for him to practice his sport but also to see what is happening on professional grounds. »

“Few shows allow such an identification, such a personal commitment to consumption”, continues Robin Recourse. Moreover, sport remains a space in which consumers often feel expert. “It’s the famous adage: we live in a country of 66 million breeders who have a clear opinion”recalls the historian.

As for stadium occupancy rates, Robin Recours believes that sports federations in France are “Historically amateur federations and have taken a long time to become professional”.“There is a conservatism on the side of sports federations when it comes to marketing the entertainment world”continues the researcher. “So if France is not a sporting country, it’s more because of a lack of resources than a lack of culture. »


Ever bigger speakers

With more than 80,000 seats, the Stade de France remains the largest sports arena in France, ahead of the Vélodrome de Marseille (more than 67,000 seats) and the Groupama Stadium in Lyon (59,000 seats).

England has more imposing structures, with the stadiums of Wembley (90,000 seats) and Old Trafford (nearly 76,000 seats). In Spain, the Camp Nou welcomes more than 99,000 visitors. A record in Europe.

On the occasion of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a new enclosure will see the light of day in the heart of Paris, Porte de la Chapelle. The future 7,800-seat “Adidas Arena” stadium will host badminton and gymnastics events.



Difficulties in filling the stadiums: “We must reduce the investment required of the supporter”

The cross : To attract the general public, clubs have relied in recent years on digital and social networks. Has it become an essential vector?

Boris Helleu: With social networks, where clubs previously met the public once every fortnight, during matches, contact can now be made daily, with backstage, storytelling, direct exchanges with fans. For some sports organizations, which are also brands in their own right, there is the possibility of reaching a wider audience than the local or national public.

The supporter has become digital, therefore international. Aware of this issue, the clubs have relied heavily on the recruitment of dedicated teams and community managers (responsible for the animation of social networks, editor’s note), the first relays of the club’s image. A phenomenon that has continued to grow since 2010. The role of a community manager has become essential. It offers fans a new way to follow a competition or a match, through multi-screens, real-time chat, etc. A social network like Twitter is particularly suitable for sharing reactions on the spot, it is suitable for the instantaneous dimension of sporting events.

Isn’t the risk to become a supporter present only through the screens and therefore to abandon the sports arenas?

BH: The use of social networks does not prevent, in my opinion, from always being a faithful supporter present at the stadium. We’ve all gotten used to multitasking. From the stadium, you can contribute to the excitement on social networks by posting a selfie supporting your team. That’s what a lot of supporters do.

The ability to complete or not complete stages actually depends on several factors. There is the cultural argument, which consists in saying that France is not a country of sport. Not like England, for example, where the love for a club is passed down from generation to generation. There is also the quality of the offer. Today, the French championships of popular sports are less attractive in terms of quality of play. In football, for example, the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, the Italian Serie A and even the German Bundesliga always rank above .

How can we compete with our European neighbors and improve stadium occupancy rates?

BH: We must first reduce the investment required of the supporter to get to the stadium. It is estimated, for example, that a sporting event that lasts 90 minutes actually requires four hours for the supporter, between journeys, installation, etc. If you don’t have a level bar or an organized sense of showmanship within the enclosure, you’re not attracting. We must rethink, no doubt, access to the stadium and the relocation of the speakers on the edge of town. A stadium like that of Lyon is a good example: with convenient access and in the city center, the occupancy rate is one of the highest in France.

Today, you have a 75% fill rate with a relevant audience. The remaining 25% are people who wonder what the weather is like before going to the stadium, who the opponent is, if the price is not too high. These represent families. We can also point to the culture of the “show”, which is not very present in France. Initiatives must be thought out to attract the supporter to a real spectacle, beyond a simple sporting event.



Violence in the stadiums: “The implementation of a supporter card is an aberration”

The cross : How deeply rooted does the culture of hooliganism seem to you in France?

The culture of hooliganism has been active in France for four decades. However, a distinction must be made between hooligans (radical supporters who seek confrontation with their counterparts) and deviant acts of various kinds (smoke bombs, intrusion on the playing area, even brawls) which are not the act of strictly speaking hooligans but rather ultras. The latter are distinguished from hooligans, because violence is not at the center of their practices, they are there to support and actively defend their club but are sometimes involved in unrest.

Finally, compared to Germany, the Netherlands, even England, France has fewer hooligans. Nevertheless, despite a fairly low number, a new generation of hooligans is active and has adopted new methods. They now draw inspiration from their Eastern European counterparts, who transformed hooliganism from the start of the 21st century. To avoid the police, they most often confront each other far from the stadiums, during meetings where the number of fighters is determined. They are combat sports enthusiasts who train and then measure themselves during these confrontations. The incidents caused by Russian hooligans during Euro 2016 gave new impetus to these methods.

With Alain Bauer’s report on confrontations between supporters, do you think the Professional Football League (LFP) has finally tackled the issue of violence head-on?

It is a facade solution. This gentleman has no knowledge in the matter while there are experts and structures such as the National Supporterism Authority, as well as the parliamentary report of the joint fact-finding mission on the regime of stadium bans and supporterism of May 2020, coordinated by MPs Marie-George Buffet and Sacha Houlié. This quality work analyzes the failures of the all-repressive policy and suggests relevant recommendations.

In Alain Bauer’s report, the ideas of introducing a supporter’s card or a nominative ticket office are aberrations which do not work in the fight against violence, as shown by the Italian example, where there have been for more than ten years such practices. Because the problem is not to identify each spectator of a stadium, a waste of time, but the troublemakers and the hooligans. The difficulty is that these individuals are not always present in the stadiums and carry out most of their violent actions outside the enclosures.

Finally, it is necessary to underline the bad management of the sports crowds and the errors made by the public authorities and the sports clubs during the numerous incidents last season.

The dramatic event that took place in Indonesia on 1er last October, resulting in the death of 131 people, could it arrive in France?

It would be absurd to compare stadiums in Indonesia and France. The Indonesian police do not have real training to supervise sports crowds and restore calm. We saw it in footage of Kanjuruhan Stadium, where the north and south corners are overwhelmed by tear gas fired by security services. In addition, crowd evacuation conditions are not planned, with narrow stairs and far too small doors. Finally, the Indonesian enclosure was overcapacity, with at least 5,000 too many spectators in the stands.

However, the catastrophic organization of the Champions League final in Paris on May 28, 2022 should make us think. That day, Liverpool supporters could have died in the bottleneck put in place at the level of ticket verification. Fortunately, their calm in a chaotic situation prevented the worst.



The return of the thorny issue of violence in stadiums

This is the story of a dialogue of the deaf. Charged last June by the Professional Football League (LFP) to draw up a report on violence between supporters, the criminologist and academic Alain Bauer sees his mission challenged. The man who presented the first recommendations of the report at the end of September, during a press conference, explained that he wanted “reestablish a dialogue with the supporters”. “It’s more about contracts made with the fans, on good terms,” assured the criminologist.

However, Ronan Evain, executive director of the Football Supporters Europe association, claims not to have been contacted by the specialist media. “Unless you consider that a message on LinkedIn, sent the day before the first leaks of the report, is a real contact. We noticed, and it is regrettable, that we were not in the loop. » If he says he had an invitation from the League, Pierre Barthélemy, lawyer for the National Association of Supporters, explains for his part that the latter invited the commission in charge of the investigation to turn to the Instance National Supporter.

A request remained a dead letter, according to the lawyer. “It also makes me laugh when I hear the expression ‘restore dialogue’, because dialogue has existed for years between supporters, clubs and the League”, he believes. Contacted, Alain Bauer says he is prepared, between now and the submission of his final report towards the end of October, to “to continue this dialogue, even with those who have always refused it, by ideology or by trial of intent”.

Get out of collective punishment

And for good reason, a large number of incidents last season contributed to making this subject a priority for the LFP. Example among many others: in November 2021, Dimitri Payet, Olympique de Marseille player, was hit by a bottle of water thrown from the stands by a Lyon supporter. The latter, quickly identified, had been apprehended, tried in immediate appearance and sentenced to a six-month suspended prison sentence and a five-year stadium ban.

A episode ” badly managed “ for Ronan Evain, because if the individual punishment was “adapted”, it should not, according to him, be added to a collective punishment with regard to the Lyon club. A total closed session had been pronounced against Groupama Stadium, in addition to a threat of withdrawal of points in the championship classification. “Was it necessary to punish collectively when individually it had been dealt with, quickly and effectively? », asks the association leader.

“We have to get out of collective sanction. We are against double jeopardy”, rightly replies Alain Bauer. Before qualifying: “We must keep it all the same as the ultimate argument. »

Towards a supporter’s identity card?

Among the recommendations presented prior to the publication of the report, a proposal on ticketing is talking about it: the establishment of a supporter card to access the stadiums. “This may take the form of a ticket holder certification mechanism,” already used during a concert at the Stade de France by singer Ed Sheeran, recalls Alain Bauer. An idea that makes Ronan Evain jump: “They tested it in Poland or Portugal and abandoned it within a few months. Today, it is present in countries like Turkey and Russia, it makes you wonder. »

In addition to the supposed attack on the integrity and privacy of supporters, refuted by Alain Bauer, for whom it is a classic identity document, Ronan Evain warns of an effect “devastating” for stadium attendance: “The first public to flee this kind of procedure is not the ultra supporter but the occasional supporter. Anyone who was about to go to the stadium at the last moment and take advantage of the last tickets on sale will be slowed down by such a device. » An argument here also swept away by Alain Bauer: “Today, you have applications for everything! Some will allow you to take a ticket in three minutes, it is not a nominative control that will slow down the supporter. »

The nominative note also raises doubts: “The initiation of such a device requires a massive recruitment of stewards or police officers, which seems inconceivable”, warns Ronan Evain. And to detail: “Imagine a match at the Parc des Princes, with an average of 47,000 people whose identity must be checked, in an hour and a half. It’s unimaginable. » An opinion supported by Pierre Barthélemy: “For a PSG match, you can have up to 10,000 tourists. With this process, we will not make the stadium attractive. »

A non-existent management policy

The two camps pass the buck, while advocating dialogue. Alain Bauer says he wants to fight against a “generally a priori seeing this report as something punitive”, when supporters’ associations concede that they do not have a miracle solution. For his part, Pierre Barthélemy wishes to recall the facts: “In France, every year, you have between 600 and 800 fan-related problems, when 8 to 12 million people go to the stadiums. And acts of violence represent 30% of these problems. It is not by establishing consensual reports where nothing is learned that this will make progress. Supporters’ associations continue to dialogue, but it is up to the police and the courts to act on criminal behavior. It will never be 30,000 people paying for the behavior of two or three. »

“In France, there is a lack of a real supporter management policy, slice the sociologist Nicolas Hourcade, specialist in football supporterism. You never know who is acting. Is it the Ministry of Sports, the Ministry of the Interior? The FFF, the LFP? » He recalls that there are now three different ways to pronounce a stadium ban: an administrative decision from the prefect, a decision from the court, or from the club itself by blocking its ticket office. “This example alone proves the whole hodgepodge surrounding fan management. »

For many, England, which succeeded in eradicating hooliganism in the 1990s, remains the benchmark. The country had put in place a coherent policy, creating new offenses and applying zero tolerance at the individual level, while removing certain collective constraints, in particular the fences around the field, but also by regaining control of certain stands managed independently by supporter groups. The decision was then “coming from above”, recalls Nicolas Hourcade. A necessity, according to him, to define a course and ensure effective prevention.


Doubts about the novelty of the report

A national body. Officially installed on March 8, 2017, the National Support Authority is already in line with the law of May 10, 2016 strengthening dialogue with supporters and the fight against hooliganism.

A questionable choice. Alain Bauer is a French criminology professor. Former leader of Unef-ID, then adviser to Prime Minister Michel Rocard from 1988 to 1990, he was adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy and Manuel Valls on questions of security and terrorism.

Existing decisions. In December 2021, the LFP had implemented several reforms. For example, the clubs had to have anti-projection (safety nets) and anti-intrusion (grids, Plexiglas, barriers, pits) security devices that could be removed and activated on the recommendation of the prefect or the National Division for the Fight against Hooliganism (DNLH). .