Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credit: Christophe SIMON / AFP 21:03 p.m., December 08, 2023

The Council of State has decided to lift the ban on the movement of fans, decided by the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, for four of the eight football matches. The National Supporters' Association had referred the matter to the highest administrative court.

The ban on the travel of fans decided for eight football matches scheduled this weekend in France has been lifted for four of them by the Council of State, announced Friday evening the highest administrative court, seized by the National Association of Supporters (ANS). "The Council of State followed our requests. Lens fans can travel to Montpellier. Reims fans can travel to Nice. Auxerre fans can travel to Troyes. Bordeaux fans can go to Angoulême," the ANS wrote on its X account.

"Disproportionate" measures according to the Council of State

In a decree published Friday in the Official Journal, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, had banned the travel of football fans for five matches of the 15th day of Ligue 1 and three matches of the 8th round of the Coupe de France scheduled for this weekend. These matches, the minister said, present a "real and serious risk of clashes between fans", in a context of "exacerbation of the increasingly serious violence observed since the beginning of the football season".

The National Association of Supporters had seized the Council of State to lift the ministerial and prefectural orders applicable to four of these matches: Montpellier-Lens (whose kick-off will be given this Friday at 21:00) and Nice-Reims (Sunday 13:00) in Ligue 1, and Angoulême-Bordeaux (Saturday 14:00) and Saint-Méziery-Auxerre (Saturday 17:00 in Troyes) on behalf of the 8th round of the Coupe de France. The Council of State, meeting in the afternoon, ruled in his favour.

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He explained in his decision that "the prohibition measures concerning persons claiming to be supporters of (these clubs) or behaving as such (...) are disproportionate and therefore seriously and manifestly disproportionate to the fundamental freedoms of such persons".

"A moratorium on fan travel"

The ANS had decided, however, not to contest the bans on the travel of supporters hitting the matches PSG-Nantes (Saturday 21:00), Lyon-Toulouse (Sunday 17:05) and Lorient-Marseille (Sunday at 20:45) as part of the 15th day of L1 and Saint-Etienne-Nîmes (Saturday 15:00) in the Coupe de France. "These orders are highly questionable. But they will attract very large crowds. It's too late to upset their management," she explained in the morning.

"These contentious appeals," added the ANS, "are in no way intended to minimize the seriousness of last Saturday's tragedy" in Nantes, where a supporter of the Loire-Atlantique club was killed in an altercation between Nantes and Nice supporters. On Thursday, RC Lens had also expressed "its greatest question" about the prefectural decree prohibiting the travel of its supporters to Montpellier, arguing in particular that this match was absolutely not "classified as risky".

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On Tuesday, Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said she was in favour of "a moratorium on the movement of fans" by December 18, while the tragedy in Nantes has added to the serious incidents that French football is experiencing this season.

On 29 October, a match between OM and Olympique Lyonnais was cancelled and postponed due to the stoning of the buses of OL players and their supporters, on their way to the Stade Vélodrome, by Marseille supporters. Former OL coach Fabio Grosso suffered facial injuries. Nazi salutes and monkey chants were then reported in the visitors' parking lot at the Stade Vélodrome. After the incidents of 29 October, several investigations were opened by the Marseille prosecutor's office.