Arnaud Rouger, General Director of the LFP, speaks exclusively to RMC Sport following the serious incidents that occurred in Marseille, which led to the postponement of the match between OM and OL on Sunday evening.
How do you react to these very serious incidents that took place last night in Marseille?
First and foremost, we thought of Fabio Grosso and his assistant. It is completely unacceptable that game actors are targeted by idiots. We wish them a speedy recovery. The most important thing is for them to recover as well as possible after this attack that they were victims of. Obviously, and it goes without saying, the League strongly condemns the incidents. However, condemning is the minimum and it is not enough. Action must be taken. Strong punishments are needed. The most important thing is therefore to severely punish those responsible. In this regard, the League does not falter. We are undoubtedly one of the most punitive bodies in Europe. We have just verified this in the Montpellier-Clermont case, and you are following the situation perfectly to know that the disciplinary committee regularly imposes heavy sanctions to close stands. We are also uncompromising regarding the statements made during or outside matches, as evidenced by the recent sanction against player Atal.
« This is not our responsibility »
Gérald Darmanin defended himself this Monday morning on RMC and BFM TV, stating that the authorities did their job yesterday. The incidents took place 500 meters from the stadium. What can the League do?
The League collaborates perfectly throughout the season with all relevant government services. In this regard, we are finalizing a new agreement with the ministries of Interior, Justice, and Sports, which sets out the organization arrangements for matches and the responsibilities of each party. In terms of prevention, action, and repression, the League is recognized by all, including the State’s services. In this case, as you say, the incidents occurred 500 meters from the stadium. This is not within our responsibility. Nevertheless, as with every incident, we stand alongside the State and fully support Gérald Darmanin’s statements calling for greater severity from the justice system towards the perpetrators of these particularly serious acts.
Will you file a complaint like the two clubs?
Of course, we will join the proceedings as a civil party in this case, as we systematically do in the event of serious incidents, given the undeniable damage to the image of football.
« These individuals have no place in the stadium or in its vicinity »
Will the match be replayed behind closed doors?
It will be up to the Competition Committee, which meets on Thursday, to address this issue.
Racist and homophobic gestures were witnessed within the stadium. What will the League do to punish these behaviors?
As soon as racist or homophobic acts are observed, the disciplinary committee takes action. The same will apply to the behaviors observed in the stands.
The Minister of Sports said this morning that « work with the sports movement, the football league, in severity must be confirmed. » What more can you do to eradicate these behaviors?
Today, football throughout Europe is facing phenomena of violence such as recurring racist incidents in Spain and Italy, or matches being halted in the Netherlands due to hooliganism. France is therefore not an isolated case, and the League deals with these issues with great determination. But beyond the numerous collective sanctions imposed by the League, collaboration with the State’s services remains essential in order to obtain more effective individual sanctions against the perpetrators of these indefensible acts. These individuals have no place in the stadium or in its vicinity.