Bottle-throwing, fights, ambush… a look back at an eventful start to the season in Ligue 1

A new one in the list. Since the start of the 2021-2022 season and after a year of closed-door matches, incidents have multiplied in the stands of Ligue 1 stadiums. The French football championship is facing a series of unprecedented violence, the last of which is on Sunday, November 21, during the Lyon-Marseille meeting, led to the end of the match and triggered a meeting between the government and the football authorities.

Football: the dangerous return of the hooligans

If the security debate in football stadiums is not new, the frequency of incidents for three months is questioning. “L’Obs” looks back on the violence that marked the start of this season.

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It all started from the 1D Ligue 1 day, during the meeting between Montpellier and Marseille. Sunday August 8, Marseillais Valentin Rongier is hit in the head by a bottle, while celebrating a goal. The match was then interrupted for twelve minutes by the referee, after several warnings due to projectiles thrown into the field from the stands.

The Breton derby between Rennes and Nantes turns sour. The match is marked by scenes of chaos around the stadium, with clashes between supporters of the two teams. Dozens of Rennes ultras are trying to get out of the stadium in order to do battle with “Canary” ultras. Two men will be tried in March 2022 for violence against a security guard.

The same day, further south, Nice and Marseille meet for an explosive match. With a quarter of an hour of the end of the match, and while his team is led 1-0, the Marseille player Dimitri Payet is hit in the back by a plastic bottle throw when taking a corner. Exasperated, Payet sends the projectile back to the platform of the Nice ultras. In reaction, some of them invade the lawn and blows are exchanged between supporters, but also between players and members of the management.

After two hours of procrastination, the authorities decide to end the match, which will be replayed two months later. Criticized for having lobbied for a resumption of the meeting, the League is discarded on the prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes. “A red line has been crossed in terms of violence against gambling actors ”Says Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu.

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Back to the pictures:

Meeting between Lens and Lille. Dozens of Lensois supporters invade the field to go to battle with the Lille parking lot, from which several seats have been thrown. The clashes, limited by the intervention of the CRS, resulted in six minor injuries. The kick-off of the second half is delayed by around 30 minutes. Consequence: the withdrawal of a suspended point for both clubs. Lens is even penalized with two matches behind closed doors, while Lille is deprived of visitor parking during matches played away until December 31.

Before the meeting between Montpellier and Bordeaux, a bus of Bordeaux supporters falls into an “ambush” organized by some of their Montpellier counterparts. Assessment, 16 people are injured. According to “Midi libre”, while Bordeaux supporters go by bus to the Mosson stadium escorted by the police, motorists see them getting off the bus, some with their faces covered, armed with iron bars, belts and go to a group of Montpellier supporters wearing the MHSC colors and do battle.

Incidents occur before the kick-off of the match between Saint-Etienne and Angers, at the time of the pre-match protocol. Several ultras from Saint-Etienne, angry at the poor results of their team, entered the lawn of the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium after sending smoke, damaging the goal nets. These must be hastily resumed before the start of the match, which is finally played one hour late.

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The “greens” get a total closed-door match and are forced to close two stands for two matches.

During the meeting between OM and PSG, projectiles are notably thrown at the Parisian corner shooters in the first period and a spectator enters the lawn at 72e minute. The supporters of Olympique de Marseille sent a message that evening to the Professional Football League (LFP) before the kick-off of the match, with a huge tifo “LFP MERDA”. The tifo, installed on the entire north turn of the Stade Vélodrome, is revealed when the players enter the field. After the meeting, Dimitri Payet deplores the throwing of projectiles from the Marseille stands. The disciplinary committee of the LFP sanctions the Marseille club with a total closed-door match for these incidents. In camera which will be purged during the reception in Troyes on November 28.

The Parc OL, home of Olympique Lyonnais, is not free from incidents either. On November 4, two “Daltons”, named after a collective of Lyon rappers already known for their urban motorcycle rodeos in downtown Lyon, invaded the lawn during the OL-Sparta Prague European Cup match. Causing a few minutes of interruption, they are quickly challenged under the whistles of the spectators.

New incident during the clash between Lyon and OM on Sunday evening. As he was about to take a corner, Marseille player Dimitri Payet, already targeted in Nice at the start of the season, was hit in the face from the first minutes of the match by a bottle thrown by an OL supporter. As in Nice, the situation will go on forever. After contradictory announcements, the match was definitively stopped approximately two hours after the interruption.

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Meetings at the top

This latest incident, which closes an unprecedented accumulation of match facts, resulted in an imbroglio involving leaders from Lyon, Marseille, the referee of the match, the LFP and the prefecture of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Several technical meetings took place between the cabinets of the Ministry of the Interior, Justice and Sports. The Interior Ministers and those in charge of Sports then met with French football authorities on Tuesday to see ” what to do “. Qualified as“Absolute urgency” by the president of the LFP Vincent Labrune, the file was taken over by the government. “Taking charge of the file at a higher level will have an impact because the supporters will see that everyone is aligned”, corroborates a French football leader on condition of anonymity.

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The government had already started a semblance of response in September shortly after Nice-OM, and new incidents occurred in Angers. 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. Thus, for Dominique Bodin, sociologist specializing in issues of violence in stadiums and teacher-researcher at Paris-Est Créteil, “The laws are very numerous and amply sufficient. The problem is to contain the phenomenon correctly because it tends to be repeated ”. Security measures in the stadiums will be proposed ” in two weeks’, Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin announced on Tuesday.

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