Football: the dangerous return of the hooligans

Remember. It was a good time. The era of closed-door stadiums, a happy time when players were neither insulted nor ducked like animals. We could hear the echo of their voices in the aisles, reminding us that these football mercenaries were humans like any other. And the referees could return to the locker room, safe and sound, certainly in cathedral silence, but protected from the hordes of “deconfinated”. Nostalgia for those moments of inner peace where football could be seen while practicing meditation?

I’m joking of course. And yet. The general alert launched by the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Sports is the sign of an extremely serious and highly dangerous drift in the world of football. Since the start of the Ligue 1 championship, we have witnessed a new French passion: the systematic throwing of projectiles on men in crampons. Game interruptions, sports sanctions against clubs unable to protect players, nothing seemed to stop the violence of a handful of fools. Simple morons? Not only.

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This irrational violence is a sign of a much deeper malaise than the football authorities are willing to say. It is, in part, the consequence of a form of frustration experienced during confinement by supporters locked up at home. Why hide it? Watching fan associations shout and insult during matches they barely watch, we can dare to say, to paraphrase Karl Marx, that football is indeed the opium of the people, that in these concrete enclosures, in festive appearance, another match is played out for the public authorities, that of the channeling of irrational violence, born of great social fears and new communitarian phenomena. The great let off steam. The “We are home!” “, Slogan of the National Front of the 2000s, also occupies the grounds, if I may say so, in all the stadiums of France, and not only among professionals.


The OL-OM affair and the “attack” on Marseille captain Dimitri Payet is the tip of the iceberg. In the most remote corners of the country, referees are threatened with lynching, the players fight like ragpickers. Dirty climate where slippages can lead to the worst. To the fatal incident.

Good souls will retort that my junk humanism can do nothing against the billions of euros that are invested in this spectacle sport, where the pressures on national and international bodies are multiple and varied. The show must go on, whatever the cost? Faced with powers that exceed them, the unfortunate leaders of football are powerless, incapable of firmness, engulfed in a hopeless cowardice. Too weak to act? It was therefore necessary that the public authorities, the State in this case, whistle the end of recess. And tell simple truths.

Today, when a player enters a field, he is in danger, transforming himself into a modern day gladiator. After the water bottles (full, and therefore become eminently dangerous projectiles, like the one received on the temple by Dimitri Payet), we can imagine that the next step could be much more terrible. Roxana Maracineanu is right to demand the immediate end of a match when a player is targeted. It is quite simply akin to civil protection.

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Targeted by a bottle throw, Dimitri Payet files a complaint

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In the OL-OM match, the saddest came from the Lyon players, showing no solidarity with their comrade, suggesting in a low voice that the victim was a simulator. So we saw them come back on the pitch, with a smile on their face, happily juggling the ball, waiting for the match to resume, as if nothing had happened. As if they accepted to have become fighters of the arena, that in order to earn millions they were ready to receive stones. Back to the circus games. This image is undoubtedly the most violent, worse than the projection of a bottle on the opponent and the trauma of the player affected by this same bottle. The leaders of French football have a huge project ahead of them. Put an end to the bestiality of a few in the stands. Do they have the shoulders to face this challenge?

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