After the bidding war in the stands, and the new clash between political world and sports world in the media, the French football was trying Wednesday to refocus the debate on homophobia in the stadiums, starting by putting around the table the actors concerned .
In recent days, many of them - supporters, anti-homophobia associations, sports leaders - have continued to work in the shadows and have remained optimistic about the progress of discussions, far from the tension displayed between the boss French football Noël Le Graët and Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu.
Tuesday, misunderstanding has risen a notch between the two leaders when Le Graët has differentiated fight against racism and homophobia in stadiums, and asked referees not to stop matches in case of homophobic events in the gallery. A "wrong" position, then judged the minister.
Two clear-cut positions displayed to everyone at the Stade de France in the evening, during France-Andorra: the firmness of the faces of the two personalities summed up their dialogue of the deaf.
On the ground, pragmatism, on the contrary, prevails.
This Wednesday in Paris, in the premises of the Professional Football League (LFP) where the body holds a seminar on a number of topics, discussions were hoped between supporters and anti-discrimination associations.
- Hot point: the stoppage of matches -
It's not all that simple.
Tuesday afternoon, the National Association of supporters (ANS), which brings together clubs from all over France, raised the stakes by conditioning its participation in the dialogue to a "moratorium" on collective sanctions taken by the LFP (huis closed, tribune closures). "Either we discuss everything, or we discuss nothing," summarized the ANS.
It was still unknown Wednesday if supporters would be present but Bertrand Lambert, president of the association Panam'Boyz, who denounces homophobia in football and works on the subject with the LFP, wanted to remain optimistic. "In any case, we meet in the morning the + referents-supporters +" clubs, which are responsible for making the link between the actors, "it allows to move forward," he explained.
Unlike the absence of dialogue that seems to freeze the FFF / ministry relations at the highest level, the actors in the field, play the game.
The players too, and not least.
Antoine Griezmann, the striker of the French team who had distinguished himself in May by giving a long interview to the magazine Têtu against homophobia in sport, was favorable to interruptions of meetings, thus counteracting the position of Le Graët.
"For me, it's very good to stop the matches (...) it's absolutely the same (racism and homophobia) ... if we stop the matches, people will be less happy, and they will stop doing it ", he argued on RTL.
The stop of the matches, precisely the ultimate point of tension between Le Graët and Maracineanu ...
"I call the referees to continue bravely" to stop the matches, also launched Thursday on France Info Frédéric Potier, interministerial delegate to the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and hatred anti-LGBT (Dilcrah).
Maracineanu did not fail to recall Tuesday that sanctions were possible sportingly, according to the rules of the International Football Federation (Fifa).
In the classic judicial field, French law considers homophobic insults as an offense punishable by "one year imprisonment and 45,000 euros fine", the same penalty being provided for racist insults.
The next L1 day ahead, from Friday to Sunday, will measure the path that remains to be traveled.
© 2019 AFP