French football in a state of emergency

The catchphrase turns to the eternal. “Today it is the survival of French football that is at stake, its economic model. “ When it is not the Covid-19 or the bankruptcy of a broadcaster, “supporters” get involved. Sunday 21 November, after four minutes of play, the match between Olympique Lyonnais (OL) and Olympique de Marseille (OM) came to an end, after Marseille captain Dimitri Payet was hit in the head by a water bottle spray. And, like the Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu, actors and observers of the hexagonal round ball are worried.

Tuesday, November 23, a crisis meeting was convened between the interior and sports ministers and football authorities (League, federation, clubs and referees) to try to stem the negative spiral in which French football is struggling and determine “The means to put an end to the incidents for the remainder of the season”. Because, since the start of the Ligue 1 championship in August, acts of violence have accumulated, ranging from throwing various objects to the invasion of the field. With the OL-OM match, this is the sixth time that a meeting has been interrupted or definitively stopped.

“I am now afraid of taking corners”

How could the situation have deteriorated to the point where Payet, still in shock, tells investigators when filing a complaint, according to the information of The team : “This is not the first time that I have been the victim of this kind of facts. I am now afraid of taking corners when I play away. “ Already targeted during the Nice-Marseille match at the end of August – his strong reaction had provoked the invasion of the field by supporters -, the attacking midfielder of OM is, like Neymar and other players, frequently targeted by fans adversaries.

Sunday, it was enough for a supporter – arrested, and referred Tuesday to immediate appearance – just aimed for Ligue 1 to tip, once again, into the abyss. And forces its actors to take the problem head-on. Roxana Maracineanu invited them to “An immediate and radical awareness”.

“It is urgent to launch a major national consultation on violence in stadiums. This gangrene will kill us if we do not react urgently ”, himself urged Vincent Labrune, Monday, in an interview with The team. If his public speech is rare, the president of the Professional Football League (LFP), furious, calls for “Turn the table on security issues”.

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