French football is the victim of a worrying escalation of violence

Transalpine football once again in the eye of the storm. After the substantial series of meetings marred by accidents, the list was further extended yesterday evening, at the Parisian stadium of Charléty, the scene of the match valid for the 32nd finals of the French Cup between Paris Fc (second team of the militant capital in the French Serie B) and Lyon in Ligue 1, definitively interrupted after the clashes that occurred in the stands, when the two teams were at 1-1.

The situation deteriorated during the interval, a few minutes after Lyon’s equalizer, signed by Moussa Dembélé two turns of hands before entering the teams in the locker room. The launch of smoke bombs towards the sectors occupied by opposing supporters and the explosion of some homemade devices was followed by the attempt of the fans to make contact: the spectators crowded in the nearby grandstand then poured onto the athletics track and the playing field to take shelter from the riots, sedated with difficulty by the intervention of the stewards and the police present in the plant. The referee and the players, who returned to the pitch to start the second half, quickly returned to the locker room, from where they never left, awaiting confirmation of the definitive suspension, communicated after about 45 minutes by the speaker who simultaneously invited the audience present to leave the stadium.

That of the “Charlèty” in Paris is just the latest episode of an evident and worrying escalation of violence that is characterizing transalpine football, which began on August 22 with a bottle throw at Dimitry Payet in the middle of the second half of Nice-Marseille with subsequent invasion of the field and brawl between local supporters and OM players. On 18 September another invasion in Lens-Lille, which began late after the attempt – rejected – by the home ultras to reach the sector occupied by Lille fans. Further scuffles in Angers-Olympique Marseille and Metz-Paris Saint Germain, then in October another kick-off postponed by one hour in the match between Saint-Etienne and Angers to allow the dispersion of the “fog” caused by a dense launch of smoke bombs carried out by green-and-white fans. And a new launch of bottles in Lyon-Marseille on November 21, and Payet again as a target already on the occasion of the first shot from the flag to be made, with the triple whistle to sanction the suspension of the match that comes after just four minutes of football played.

Moreover, the Paris episode comes less than a month after the negotiation table opened to deal with the emergency linked to the spread of violence in French stadiums. To put a stop to this crescendo of unrest, politics also took to the field, alongside the Football Association, with the Minister of the Interior Gèrald Darmanin and the Minister of Sport Roxana Maracineanu. Drastic measures are being studied to always allow the regular running of the matches and allow spectators to watch the matches safely. At stake, not only the credibility but also the survival of the “football product”, especially after the difficulties linked to the pandemic that last season forced the French clubs to lose a total of more than 730 million euros.