Nice: Leave Emiliano Sala in peace

This Wednesday evening in Nice, a song defiling the memory of Emiliano Sala descended from the spans of the Allianz Riviera. A scene of infinite sadness that shocked French football, and reminded us of the cruelty that our stands can show.

In a stadium, there is the trashtalking, chambering, rivalry or even animosity, middle fingers, insults, hatred, whistles, projectiles on the green square, fights. And then, as if all of these things are morally acceptable, there is sometimes even more than that, and this is presumably where our collective cursor stops. This Wednesday evening at home against AS Saint-Étienne, intoxicated by their frustration with the Coupe de France final, supporters of OGC Nice crossed a new limit with what could have remained as an anecdotal song of bad taste, one more. And we are not talking about a few misfits timidly shouting a slogan in the general hubbub of a platform: we are talking about a tune launched by a capo, taken up by a whole platform and resonating enough to make the rounds of social networks and French soccer. The Riviera club and FC Nantes had the perfect answer, Christophe Galtier ( “Let them stay at home, you can’t hear that in a stadium” ), Andy Delort or Antoine Kombouaré too.

It would be easy to call them names (we have enough to do when we frequent the stands every weekend), belittle them and deprive them of their status as supporters. But let’s face it: these people are by our side on Saturday and Sunday, love the same sport as us and vibrate for the same things. Worse: they are even among those who actively bring our stadiums, our stands, our championship to life. However, on May 11, 2022, they decided to join the camp of the tough, the dark, those who would be able to abandon all that remains of their humanity out of love for their club – or hatred of the one opposite. . With this sequence, these dozens of individuals accept that nothing, not even respect for the dead, can make them raise the white flag with their fellows of another coat of arms. The darkest hours of our sport transpire in what this incident represents. And nobody wants that football.

honor and pride

Three and a half years since Emiliano Sala left us. And not a week goes by without Nantes supporters – and others – thinking of him. A drama which shattered the life of a man who did good around him, and which shook a club (the FCN) and the men around him (Nicolas Pallois, Valentin Vada, Vahid Halilhodžić, and all those who crossed paths with Emiliano on and off the pitch, ask Valentin Rongier). A drama which above all destroyed a family: Horacio Sala died at the age of 58, three months after losing his son; Romina Sala, who will never turn the page, tried to end her life last July, finding herself in serious condition. It’s still hard to read, yet it’s a reality. Which obviously not everyone has in mind.

Last summer, a tournament in the name of Emiliano Sala was born. A few weeks ago, a fresco in his honor was inaugurated in Carquefou. If we continue to pay homage to him every year in January, that we sing to his glory every weekend during his famous minute, it is not so that enlightened people use this symbol to express their cruelty. . Because yes, Emiliano Sala has become a symbol, which we share in Nantes, Bordeaux, Niort, Orléans and Caen but also in Paris, Marseille, Lille, Montpellier, Toulouse or Le Havre. And when the Loire Brigade chanted the name of the Argentinian after nine minutes of play against Stade Rennes, in the evening, it was applause that descended from the red and black park, yet not stingy with names of birds towards their hosts during the meeting, derby obliges. Proof that something was born and continues, since January 21, 2019. The violence of a supporter, the real one, is not that of a cracked smoke bomb or of a field crossed while running with the stewards on their heels. It is that of a deceased who is killed a second time, just with words, on the altar of rivalry. On the field of ferocity, the Aiglons won hands down. But at what cost ? Is there really a world where a human being feels proud after that? This morning, Emiliano Sala’s memory is sullied. But the honor of the Brigade Sud Nice is even more so.

By Jeremy Baron

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