In light of the violence which has marked numerous matches at the Parc des Princes, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux have signed an official decree disbanding several “ultras” supporters groups.
The most troublesome incident came back on February 28 during a match against southern rivals Marseille, when members of the (ostensibly more “liberal”) Stand of Auteuil murdered a member of the (fascist and racist) Kop de Boulogne.
Violence between the two groups has been persistent throughout this season, and it seems that the French government has had enough of their shenanigans. In addition to the 650 individuals already on the hooligan list, the latest decree officially dissolves seven groups that have been involved in most of the incidents.
From the Stand of Auteuil, the groups Supras Auteuil 1991, Paris 1970 la Grinta, and Les Authentiks have been eliminated. At the other end of the pitch the Kop de Boulogne has lost Commando Loubard and Milice Paris. In addition, Brigade Sud de Nice (OGC Nice supporters) and Cosa Nostra de Lyon (Olympique Lyonnais supporters) were also eliminated due to several clashes with other clubs over the course of the season.
This action comes ahead of Saturday’s Coupe de France championship match between PSG and Monaco amidst fears of more violence. Philippe Perreira, the spokesman for the collective of groups occupying the Kop de Boulogne, has admitted that numerous fans have made Nazi salutes and engaged in violent (and racist) behavior. It has even been noted that “it remains an unwritten rule that nobody of colour enters the Boulogne stand, be it supporters or stewards.” Indeed, Perreira went so far as to say that “Auteuil fans turn[ed] up at a match dressed in traditional Arab gowns in January, as ‘provocation’.”
Once again, however, it is unclear how this will result in anything different regarding violence in the stands. Technically, the Boys de Boulogne (the most notorious of the ultras) have been banned since 2008, but most of their members have simply infiltrated other groups in the Kop de Boulogne. The larger steps are yet to be taken, but in June the French Senate will examine several measures aimed at known hooligans, including: (1) a curfew; (2) a travel ban; and (3) a requirement to register at a local police station during matches. Unfortunately, those measures will come too late for anyone who might be subject to violence between now and the end of the Ligue 1 season.