French Football Hooliganism

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Euro 2016 England fans fight in Marseille clashes

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Football Hooligans Brest and Guingamp in 2013 France

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Football hooliganism in France is often rooted in social conflict, including racial tension. In the 1990s, fans of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) fought with supporters from Belgium, England, Germany, Italy and Scotland.

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French football hooligans wreak havoc in Dutch town ahead of Europa match

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There is a long-standing north/south rivalry between PSG (representing Paris and by extension northern France) and Olympique de Marseille (representing the South of France) which has encouraged authorities to be extremely mobilised during games between the two teams.

Violent fights and post-game riots including car burning, and shop windows smashing have been a regular fixture of PSG-OM games. In 2000, the bitter rivalry turned particularly violent.

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Galatasaray Hooligans vs Psg – FİGHT

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On 24 May 2001, fifty people were injured when fighting broke out at a match between PSG and Turkish club Galatasaray at the Parc des Princes stadium.

PSG were initially given a record $571,000 fine, but it was reduced on appeal to $114,000. Galatasaray was initially fined $114,000 by UEFA, but it too was eventually reduced to $28,500.

In May 2001, six PSG fans from the Supporters Club, were arrested and charged with assault, carrying weapons, throwing items on the pitch and racism. The six were alleged to have deliberately entered a part of the Parc des Princes stadium where French fans of Turkish origin were standing, in order to attack them. The six were banned from all football stadiums for the duration of their trial.

On 24 November 2006 a PSG fan was shot and killed by police and another seriously injured during fighting between PSG fans and the police. The violence occurred after PSG lost 4–2 to Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv at the Parc des Prince in a UEFA Cup match. PSG fans chased a fan of Hapoel Tel Aviv, shouting racist and anti-semitic slogans. A plainclothes police officer who tried to protect the Hapoel fan was attacked, and in the chaos, one fan was shot dead and another seriously injured.

In response, the French Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy held a meeting with the president of the French Football League, Frederic Thiriez to discuss racism and violence in football. The director-general of the French police, Michel Gaudin, insisted that measures against football hooliganism had reduced racist incidents to six that season from nineteen in the previous season. Gaudin also stated that 300 known hooligans could be banned from matches.

The fan who was shot, was linked with the Boulogne Boys, a group of fans who modelled themselves on British hooligans in the 1980s. The group’s name comes from the Kop of Boulogne (KOB), one of the two main home fan stand at the Parc des Princes.

The KOB themselves held a silent memorial march attended by 300 and accused the police office of murdering the fan. They cited bias in the French press who had only given a “one-sided” account of the incident.

French President Jacques Chirac condemned violence that led up to the shooting, stating that he was horrified by the reports of racism and anti-Semitism. French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin called for new, tougher measures to deal with football hooligans. Prosecutors opened an inquiry into the incident, to determine whether the officer involved should face criminal charges.

German football hooligans with masked faces in a 1990s match.

Before a home match against Sochaux on 4 January 2006, two Arab youths were punched and kicked by white fans outside the entrance to the KOB. During the match racist insults were aimed at black players and a PSG player of Indian origin, Vikash Dhorasoo was told to “go sell peanuts in the metro”.

In the recent years, following UK’s example, France’s legislation has changed, including more and more banning of violent fans from stadiums. The threat of dissolution of fan groups has also tempered the outward rivalry and violence of a number of fans. Known violent fans under ban sentences are to report to the nearest Police station on nights of game, to prove they are not anywhere in proximity to the stadium

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