Derby Without Fans

It goes without saying that football is nothing without fans. The derbies more often than not are the highlight of the season for many clubs and their supporters. This Sunday sees a new edition of the biggest derby in French football: Paris – Marseille. This time though, this will be a special derby. There won’t be any Paris supporters at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. According to a report in the biggest sports daily L’Equipe, the police cannot guarantee for the security of the PSG supporters. That is a terrible thing to admit by the police direction and paints a worrying picture of the state of France. The author of the post cites the police as stating that due to problems in the suburbs of Marseille and a shortage of staff, no Parisians are allowed to attend the match. Another terrible point to admit and another mark on the image of France, a country which has had its fair share of trouble and grievance over the last years. Above all it is a terrible thing to admit that the security of ordinary football fans can’t be guaranteed. Surely, people from Paris will go, the question is how many and will there be incidents. It is the biggest match in French football and has seen violence in the past; but violence has always been a part of football. Even in the late 19th. century when football was not yet the most popular game, it incited violence among rivaling fans.

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