Ultras supporters oppose a premature resumption of football in France

Smoke bombs at Geoffroy-Guichard, AS Saint-Etienne stadium, in December 2019.
Smoke bombs at Geoffroy-Guichard, AS Saint-Etienne stadium, in December 2019. EMMANUEL FOUDROT / REUTERS

Their arguments will probably not weigh very heavy against those, ringing and stumbling, television broadcasters, but 45 groups of supporters of the clubs of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 affirmed, Monday April 13, their opposition to a resumption of the championships as long as the health situation would not be fully restored.

In a rare demonstration of unity, the ultra groups of the main French clubs – only the stands of Olympique de Marseille and Olympique lyonnais are missing – particularly denounce the temptation to resume meetings behind closed doors … therefore without them.

"It is not conceivable that football will resume prematurely. It is not possible that it will resume in camera. It will resume in due course when sanitary and social conditions are met, plead French supporters. “No matter what” football is a football of shame that will have no future. "

Since French football has stopped, its leaders have insisted, however, that government health and instructions will govern all decisions.

A resumption in camera in August?

Traditional opponents of the race for money in their sport, the ultras groups take advantage of the moment to denounce the "Brutal greed" and "The unbearable indecency" football "Unable to look beyond a fiscal year". "Football has become a television program which believed it could do without full stadiums, but which above all cannot do without broadcasters' money", they deplore.

Since the start of the crisis, most ultras groups have, like in Italy, mobilized their members to organize meal distributions for caregivers, raise funds or make support banners.

Faced with the expected extension of the assembly bans until the summer, the closed door is now the preferred solution by the main European leagues to resume matches, complete the championships, garner the revenues promised by the television channels and thus avoid the economic collapse. With the exception of Germany, which plans to resume on May 9, the other championships are more likely to expect a return to the game in June.

France has already set a resumption date for the 2020-2021 season on August 23 for Ligue 1 (August 22 for L2), so possibly, there too, behind closed doors. The prospect of stadiums being filled again in the medium term is indeed uncertain.

The meeting in Milan between Atalanta Bergamo and FC Valencia, in the Champions League on February 19, was considered to accelerate the epidemic in Lombardy. In an interview at New york times, the head of the German Bundesliga, Christian Seifert, plans to play the matches in camera until the end of the calendar year.

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