Saturday, April 10, 2021

The government shakes up the threat of a return to closed doors in the stadiums

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Barely half-opened, already closed? The threat of a return behind closed doors in stadiums in France, “If the measures” health security to fight against the spread of Covid-19 “Are not respected”, is in any case clearly brandished by the Minister for Sports, Roxana Maracineanu.

This is what she said Monday, July 20 in the evening after a meeting with the president of the Professional Football League (LFP), Nathalie Boy de la Tour and the general manager of the French Federation of football (FFF), Florence Hardouin. This threat follows the behavior displayed by some PSG fans.

Friday July 17, while, for the first time in four months, the Parisian enclosure had been reopened to the public, within the limit of 5,000 people, for a friendly match between PSG and the Belgian club Waasland-Beveren, a a number of Parisian supporters did not respect barrier gestures (wearing a mask, social distancing).

“We underestimated the enthusiasm that was going to be, recognized Romain Mabille, president of the Ultras Paris Collective (CUP), in an interview with Parisian Monday. We let ourselves go by the enthusiasm of the match “.

Review clause

On July 12, Ms. Maracineanu had mentioned “A review clause in mid-July” to study the possibility of increasing the number of spectators admitted to the stadiums (by moving to a percentage of the capacity of the sports venue, for example and not to a fixed number common to all the stadiums), an option which it considers should be studied in Defense Council this week.

In any case, the 5,000-person gauge is intended to be applied until mid-August, before the resumption of the French football championship, scheduled for August 22-23.

In this context, the friendly match between PSG and Celtic Glasgow, Tuesday July 21, will be a test. Specific measures should be put in place to ensure that the scenes from the end of last week are not reproduced.

“Decisions behind closed doors could be taken, in accordance with applicable law, if the measures intended to combat the spread of the virus are not respected during the next matches”, warned the sports ministry.

Such a prospect had reacted the National Association of Professional Sports Leagues the day after the PSG-Beveren match. “The behavior of a few must not call into question everything, including to their own detriment, and jeopardize the survival of an economic sector as a whole”, this body, which brings together the professional leagues of football, rugby, cycling, basketball, handball and volleyball, declared on Saturday July 18. She had recommended, in the event that health protocols were not respected by “A minority of individuals in a minority of matches”, to put in place “Targeted measures limited to the matches concerned”.

“We ask you so that the irresponsible actions of a minority do not influence a decision which involves the resumption of an entire sector of activity, and for what concerns us the survival of our clubs”, for his part wrote the president of the National Rugby League, Paul Goze, in an open letter to Roxana Maracineanu.

The World with AFP

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