Investigations launched into fan violence at French game
PARIS (AP) — The public prosecutors’ office in Nice launched investigations into the violence that marred a Europa Conference League match and left 32 people injured.
The start of Thursday’s match between Nice and Cologne was delayed by about an hour because of fights among supporters in the stands at Allianz Riviera stadium. The game ended 1-1.
Prosecutors opened three investigations on Friday into the violence not only inside the stadium but also outside it as well as in downtown Nice, French media reported. The goal is to “identify and arrest” those responsible.
The disorder is also subject to a UEFA disciplinary case with eight charges against Nice, including failure to screen and search spectators, and three against Cologne.
The French government’s administrator for the region said on Friday the violence took place despite a heavy police presence and security planning coordinated through both clubs and UEFA.
Bernard Gonzalez, prefect for the Alpes-Maritimes region, said thousands of German fans began consuming alcohol early Thursday in downtown bars and some of their behavior was “unacceptable.”
The German fans identified to be “most at risk” were supposed to be placed in a secure part of the stadium, but they broke free alongside some Parisian hooligans and kicked off the violence, Gonzalez continued.
In total, 650 police and gendarmes were mobilized, as well as 600 stadium stewards.
Four people were brought to the hospital including one — identified as a Parisian — who sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries in a fall. Two police officers and one steward were among those injured and treated at the stadium, Gonzalez said.
Paris Saint-Germain condemned the violence after it emerged that fans from a banned group of hardcore PSG supporters took part in the clashes.
PSG said in a statement it has been deeply engaged over the past 10 years in preventing soccer violence and pointed out that the Supras Auteuil fan group was disbanded in 2010. PSG said it does not recognize its members as PSG supporters and insisted they are banned from entering the club’s stadium in Paris.
PSG had serious problems with hooliganism from 1985 to 2010. The club then took measures to combat the problem and radically changed its ticketing policy.
“The club shall consider what action to take for the damage to its reputation caused by the actions of such individuals,” PSG said.
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