“It is necessary that those who are at the head of sports bodies, whether the League or the Federation, take a clear position”, asked Thursday, May 12, on franceinfo, the Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu, after the song of the Nice supporters during the match against AS St-Etienne the day before. In the 9th minute, a song was sung by the people of Nice referring to Emiliano Sala, former FC Nantes striker who died in 2019 in a plane crash at sea. “He’s an Argentinian, who doesn’t swim well, Emiliano underwater”, we could clearly hear from the stands of the Allianz Riviera. The minister is waiting “at least one media statement” sports bodies “when things like this happen”.
The chant was chanted four days after Nice lost to Nantes in the Coupe de France final. Roxana Maracineanu says she understands “that a group of supporters of a team that lost in the Coupe de France could feel disappointment, spite”. But she feels there is “other ways to say it and make it heard than in this way which is offensive and outrageous for the family of Emiliano Sala”. She sees it “an attack on the memory of an athlete who died in tragic circumstances”.
The Minister of Sports expresses her “satisfaction” that the leaders of OGC Nice “seize the subject and denounce it”. She salutes the reaction of Christophe Galtier, the Nice coach, that he “rather pleased”. She recalls that at the start of the season, a meeting was held around “four ministers with the League, with club representatives”among whom there was Jean-Pierre Rivière, the president of Nice. “We all agreed that it was individual sanctions that we had to go to in addition to the collective sanctions that the League could take”. Roxana Maracineanu assures that there is “regular monitoring of the implementation of these commitments that have been made” at the Ministry of the Interior. She highlights “a substantial array of trade sanctions that clubs can put in place”. But she thinks “that today, for this type of drift, it is also up to the clubs to go further”.
The Minister also calls on “the solidarity of all so that these behaviors are eradicated”and in particular to the “solidarity with the groups of supporters who denounce the behavior of this group of supporters in particular”. “Everyone must ask themselves the question of what they can do at their level so that this does not happen again”adds Roxana Maracineanu.
For his part, the co-president of the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP), Philippe Piat, estimated on franceinfo Thursday, that the “IThe clubs are not responsible”. He strongly condemns the singing of Nice supporters. “It’s to die for to hear things like that, you wonder what world you live in”he complains.
According to Philippe Piat, “It’s very complicated for clubs to prevent this kind of event”. He believes that“Taking points from a team or having a match played behind closed doors is one thing, but it’s not an end in itself”. The co-president of the National Union of Professional Footballers calls for more severe punishment for these supporters. “I think it’s not very complicated to get them out of the stadium and punish them heavily”. According to him, this must go through, in particular, “stadium bans for years”. He takes the example of England where “hooligans have been eradicated because major sanctions have been taken”.
Philippe Piat deplores the increase in incidents in stadiums and notes that in other disciplines, “It’s still acceptable when there are bad moods that make themselves known at the end of a match”. He concludes by appealing to supporters: “Sport is the victory of one, the defeat of the other. And if we deny these realities, we have nothing to do in the stands”.