Supporters’ federation statement on Saint-Etienne and PSG restrictions

Credit: Jeff Pachoud / AFP

We have taken note of the decree from the Préfet de la Loire which aims to restrict RC Strasbourg’s supporters access to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Friday 24th November 2017.

At a time when Strasbourg’s fans’ exemplary behaviour is continually being underlined by club officials and the press, the limitation of 700 tickets for fans obliged to travel from Alsace by bus can be nothing but firmly condemned.

Besides an enthusiasm that been praised from all sides but which has been shown contempt by a deliberately delayed publication, the prefect’s decision is also unjust by refusing to consider the bonds built between the club and its supporters.

The years spent in the amateur leagues reinforced relations between Racing’s fans, who showed unfailing loyalty, and club officials, who were able to establish a constructive dialogue, thanks especially to supporter representatives whose efficiency in facilitating match preparations is demonstrated week after week.

This decree, which is hardly justifiable by a rivalry between the two sides, imposes supervisory measures that are disproportionate and that strip away our rights. We also lament, for the atmosphere at the Meinau for the visit of PSG on 2nd December, the decision to limit the number of tickets available to Parisian fans at just 300.

Yet, the relevance of this process has been refuted for a long time; the legitimate desire to prevent violence through sanctions can only be effective if, in parallel, public authorities converse in a constructive and regular manner with supporters’ associations, who have been asking for precisely this.

Evidently, the publication of this decree two days before the match shows the opposite desire from the decision makers, with the risk of reviving tensions.

In fact, many supporters had long been planning their presence in Saint-Etienne this weekend outside of the arrangements proposed by the supporters’ associations; the latter of whom, incidentally, can obviously neither reserve nor organise additional buses in such a short space of time.

Football stadia cannot be treated as a no-go zone and must remain a public place open to all; it is unacceptable to exclude despised and caricatured supporters from them, and it is unacceptable that justice, responsible for punishing potentially dangerous behaviour, is being pushed into the background by arbitrary collective sanctions.

No to blind repression, yes to discussion, yes to passion…
Allez Racing!

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