The Bollaert-Delelis stadium should ring a little hollow on Tuesday January 4. First because the Lens-Lille derby, which is on the program for the round of 16 of the French Football Cup, will be played in front of a number of spectators. reduced to five thousand due to new measures decided by the government to try to fight against the spread of Covid-19. But the enclosure will be all the less lively as it will also be deprived of the presence of Lille supporters.
The latter are prohibited from accompanying their team, according to a decree of the Ministry of the Interior, published Friday, December 31 in Official newspaper. Considering that “The relations between the supporters of RC Lens and LOSC have been marked by animosity for many years”, and that there would be, Tuesday evening, “A real and serious risk of confrontation”, the ministry banned “The individual or collective travel, by any means, of any person availing himself of the quality of supporter of the Lille Olympique Sporting Club or behaving as such”.
The two clubs already sanctioned
Lens and Lille have been at the heart of the multiple violence that has punctuated football matches in France since the resumption of the season at the end of August. The meeting between the two northern clubs, on September 18 in Lens, as part of the Ligue 1 championship, had seen dozens of Lensois supporters invading the field to go to battle with the parking lot of Lille, from where seats had been thrown away. The clashes, limited by the intervention of the CRS, had left seven wounded, according to the Ministry of the Interior.
The two clubs had been inflicted with penalties from the Professional Football League, including the closure, for Lille, of the visitor parking lot during away matches until December 31.
A decree of the prefect of Pas-de-Calais, on December 23, had already prohibited Lille supporters from entering the enclosure of the Bollaert-Delelis stadium, in its surroundings, as well as in several streets of downtown Lens and from the neighboring town of Liévin, from Tuesday 6 a.m. to Wednesday 6 a.m.
The ministry recalls, moreover, that the police remain “Strongly mobilized to face the terrorist threat” and to manage the migratory situation in Calaisis and the Hauts-de-France coast and that they “Cannot be distracted from these priority missions to respond to excesses linked to the violent behavior of supporters within the framework of sporting events”.