Once again, the Allianz Riviera was the scene of a veritable surge of violence. Thursday evening, clashes between supporters left 32 injured before the Europa League Conference meeting between OGC Nice and the Germans of FC Cologne, finally shifted by one hour and ended in a draw (1-1). In the aftermath of these incidents, which aroused indignant reactions, arrests could take place.
What happened ?
For German supporters, hostilities began in the afternoon in the city center of Nice. Even before they arrive at the stadium. They degraded monuments and tagged tram stations, causing repair costs of 35,000 euros, according to a first estimate that the town hall of Nice intends to claim from the Cologne club. The city and the Lignes d’Azur transport authority will file a complaint. On Place Masséna, the storefront of the official OGC Nice store was also damaged. At the start of the evening, the first clashes took place outside the Allianz Riviera before the situation degenerated completely inside. One hour before kick-off, initially scheduled for 6.45 p.m., several hundred spectators wearing Cologne colors out of the more than 8,000 present in the Ray stand invaded the presidential stand to go and do battle with the Nice fans, installed them in the south popular stand. Fights broke out, sometimes with seats or iron bars torn off in the stadium, injuring several dozen people. Videos show real chaos.
OGC Nice also denounced a “forced passage to access controls to the stadium on the German side”. A crisis meeting between representatives of UEFA, the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes, the public prosecutor and the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi was organized and it was decided to postpone the kick-off by one hour. . The prefecture, which explained in the evening that the gates of the stadium had been “temporarily closed, the time for calm to return” after the intervention of the police, specified that there was then “no incident during the match.
What is the balance sheet?
Friday evening, a report showed 32 injured including two police officers and a steward, and four people hospitalized. A supporter who came from the FC Cologne stand was transported in “absolute emergency” after a fall of more than 5 meters between two levels of the stands, but his vital prognosis was no longer engaged at the end of the evening. “Very alcoholic”, according to the chief of staff of the prefect, this individual was in fact a Parisian. The presence of supporters of the capital in the stand of the German club, wearing their colors, has thus been confirmed by several sources. PSG’s “Supras Auteuil” took out a banner at the start of the match. The Alpes-Maritimes prefecture explains this Friday that “the security system made up of 450 police and gendarmes was reinforced by 200 law enforcement officers during the day”, with 600 stewards. She assures that it was “proportionate in view of the elements of which [elle] had and the assessment of the level of risk of this meeting”.
Also questioned in the morning by 20 minutes, the public prosecutor Xavier Bonhomme indicated for his part that there had been “no arrest at this stage”. The prosecution announced the opening of three investigations entrusted to the departmental security with “the aim of identifying and arresting the perpetrators of these offenses”. They concern “damage in meetings on the official store of the OGC Nice club”, “violence in meetings near the Allianz Riviera stadium” and “violence in meetings within the sports enclosure, introductions and throwing of smoke bombs and damage in meetings committed inside the Allianz Riviera stadium”.
What are the reactions?
These new scenes of violence between supporters, which recall those which had broken out during the aborted meeting between Nice and Marseille in August 2021, in particular aroused the ire of the Minister of Sports. “It’s fed up, it’s really fed up that our sport is soiled in this way, that we can no longer say to ourselves that we are going with our kids in a serene and reassuring way in a stadium”, regretted Amélie Oudea-Castera. “Stunned”, OGC Nice for its part “condemned with the greatest firmness” this “surge of violence”. The club’s management says it wants “all the light to be shed on the conditions that made this succession of events possible. […] so that the necessary measures are taken to supervise its next European meetings”. On social networks, Nice supporters question the security system in place Thursday evening. After the meeting, coach Lucien Faivre also spoke about these clashes: “It’s disappointing, infuriating to see that. It shouldn’t exist.” And to clarify: “Our supporters have nothing to be ashamed of. I don’t fear a stadium suspension. It would be too unfair. »
Cologne’s assistant coach, André Pawlak, also denounced “a real scandal”. ” There are no words. It’s very sad and difficult to see that,” he said. The German club acknowledged that “the sanctions [contre lui] are probable”. PSG also reacted this Friday morning. While he condemns “with the greatest firmness the violence committed”, he also specifies that the “Supras Auteuil group was dissolved by a decree of April 29, 2010” and that its members are “not recognized as supporters of Paris Saint- Germain and are prohibited from entering the Parc des Princes”.
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