General indignation, disciplinary committee seized … The songs of Nice supporters mocking Wednesday the former Nantes striker Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash, sparked an outcry in French football tired of the excesses, pushing the ultras of the Riviera to plead the “second degree”, without regret. Four days after their Coupe de France final lost against Nantes, OGC Nice bounced back sportingly by overthrowing Saint-Etienne (4-2) Wednesday evening in the French Championship. But the performance was largely overshadowed by the behavior of the Brigade Sud Nice (BSN), already singled out in August after the match against Marseille was interrupted.
“He’s an Argentinian who doesn’t swim well, Emiliano underwater,” intoned part of the Allianz Riviera audience around the 9th minute, parodying the song (“He’s an Argentinian, he doesn’t don’t give up, Emiliano Sala”) that the Nantes supporters take up in honor of their former N.9, in each match and at this precise moment. “Disgusted” and “disgusted”, the Marseillais Valentin Rongier joined Thursday in the many criticisms aimed at the ultras of the Popular South. “They wanted to be interesting, but you can’t touch the memory of someone who has left,” added the midfielder trained in Nantes, where he rubbed shoulders with Sala for almost four years.
“Foolishness and indecency”
The Argentinian, 28, lost his life while on a private plane to Wales, where he had just been transferred to the Cardiff club. The machine was damaged in the English Channel on January 21, 2019, in difficult weather. “We are reaching heights in stupidity and indecency,” reacted Roxana Maracineanu, Minister Delegate for Sports, on RTL. “There are individual sanctions, commercial sanctions that the club itself can take,” she said.
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, also “requested that those who are at the origin of it be identified and that this be investigated with the greatest firmness. They have disqualified themselves for being worthy to support our club”, wrote the chosen one (ex-LR). Thursday, the Professional Football League (LFP) announced to AFP that the disciplinary committee had been seized following the report of the match delegate, who noted the incident. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18.
A “mistake”, but…
The behavior of the ultras from Nice has cost the Aiglons dearly this season, symbol of an L1 2021-2022 darkened by repeated clashes in the stands. The club owned by Ineos, fourth in the Championship two lengths from the podium, was penalized with a withdrawal of two points (including one suspended), among other things, after the scuffles in August against OM. A bottle throw aimed at the Marseillais Dimitri Payet had degenerated into a general fight involving supporters and players on the lawn, before the match was interrupted and finally replayed, on neutral ground and without an audience (1-1).
On Wednesday, the insults “came from a few people, but they weren’t just three. But let them stay at home with their bottles and their insults. If that’s our society, we’re in deep shit”, reacted Nice coach Christophe Galtier hot. The ultras from Nice defended themselves on Thursday via a press release in which they deplore “that after an error, whether it may seem huge or not according to everyone’s thoughts, everything is called into question: media release from our coach and communication to the haste of the club with harsh words to discredit an entire group”.
“While we obviously understand the emotion that the words of this song can arouse, the second degree is an integral part of ultra culture (…), a symbol of our self-mockery and of the casual spirit (sometimes too certainly) which is ours”, assert the ultras of the Popular South, the group addressing “once again its most sincere condolences to the family of Emiliano Sala”.