PSG – OM: When a government cannot handle fans safety

Hi all,
PSG-OM is supposed to be the “clasico” made in France. Well, to start with, I dislike this name….clasico. A copy-paste of the famous Madrid-Barcelona game, which is a real hype, not some tasteless parody of football as the french one is. A rivalry created Hollywood style in the 90’s to spice up a boring league then.

Back in the 90’s the PSG-OM have always been full of violence on and off the pitch. Not only the teams staff (Presidents, coaches, etc…) spilt oil on fire one or two weeks before the game, but the players were as well keen on flexing their muscles.

A period where Bernard Tapie and Michel Denisot were respectively President of Marseille and PSG. Jean-Francois Peres in his book “PSG-OM, OM-PSG les meilleurs ennemis“* describes very well how this pseudo clasico was invented piece by piece, and in fact these 2 clubs have a lot in common, especially violent fans.

But the point of this article is not the feud between these clubs. On Sunday November 7th, PSG will “host” Marseille in Paris. Since last year, Paris St Germain took drastic measures to get rid of the most violent and untolerant fans. Unpopular decisions but necessary. Also, to host the southern club fans in the best conditions, a very strict setup was put in place in the Parc des Princes to ensure opponent fans safety. Yet, the government had also to pitch in order to ensure that the fans travel safely from the train stations to the stadium and back. An involvement the french government refused to take part.

The french league and the authorities simply forbade the Marseille fans to come to support their team against PSG. In return, they forbade the PSG fans to go to Marseille when Paris will be playing there. How ridiculous is this decision?

Honnestly, we are talking about 2000-3000 Marseille fans max! In other words, a government is unable to ensure the safety of 3000 people? It’s surprising, ridiculous and scary. French President sarkozy showed what he is capable of in terms of security. In a nutshell, add a Police squad in every corner of the french territory, and transform the supposedly Human Rights country to a right wing military banana Republic. Surprisingly enough, 3000 Marseille fans are a threat for this administration!

Secondly, it is another dismissal from the french authorities to take responsibility in football. They let the clubs deal with issues that should not be theirs. In a public event, the government must ensure safety of the public jointly with the event organisers. Period.

Just imagine for one second Abdullah Gul (President of Turkey) forbidding Galatasary fans to go support their team against Fenerbahce! Or David Cameron urging Arsenal fans to stay indoors when the Gunners play Tottenham at White Hart Lane…….insane isn’t it? Well it IS happenning in France for PSG-OM.

The french league has several issues. Fiscality, decent stadiums, lack of attendance, exposure in European competitions. Now I identified a new hurdle to the development of french football : the french government itself.

Karl Lusbec


* PSG-OM, OM-PSG the best enemies”