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The French Supporters Association (ANS) has issued a formal statement, calling for the French FA (LFP) to reform their disciplinary commission, which hands out punishments to clubs for infringements such as use of pyrotechnics.
Fans are unhappy over disciplinary action which includes fines, full and partial stadium closures, and travel bans which they say are on the increase.
“This 2023-2024 season clearly marks a historic tipping point and promises to be a record season,” read the official statement. “On the one hand with regard to financial sanctions which, for some, jeopardise the financial health of football clubs. The amount of these has doubled since the start of the season.
“Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 will never have seen so many stands closed for the massive and festive use of pyrotechnic devices. Some are even punished at home for events that took place away. This is a new fad of this assembly which has been put in place since the start of the season.”
The statement also calls for the French FA to produce written reasons for all punishments handed out, as outlined in the UEFA code. Supporters in France are asking for the decision making process to evolve “for the interest of football.”
Protests are said to be being planned over the next few days to reinforce the statement.
Does the French Supporters Association have a point?
While supporters will be keen to make their voices heard, it must be said that there has been a resurgence of violence recently at French football matches. Former Lyon boss Fabio Grosso was pictured with a bloodied face when Marseille fans attacked the team bus, while a match between Clermont and Montpellier had to be replayed when a flare thrown on to the pitch exploded near the home team’s goalkeeper.
🚨 OL manager Fabio Grosso injured after team coach was attacked with stones whilst travelling to Marseille.
Emergency medical treatment for Fabio Grosso tonight. pic.twitter.com/0bFuHizhyp
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 29, 2023
Whether or not more draconian punishments is the answer to the problem remains to be seen, but this debate will surely rumble on for a while yet.