Pierre Ferracci, president of Paris FC: "Soccer is going down"

The violent incidents which led to the cessation of the Coupe de France match between Paris FC and OL caused a shock in the world of French football. And a clash between Jean-Michel Aulas and Pierre Ferracci, president of the PFC, who has since occupied a lot of media space, when the Lyon club now plays the card of discretion. Six days after the fact, how does the man who wants to build the second big Parisian club analyze the situation? And what does he hope for the future?


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What representation do you have of this terrible evening now that we know a little more about the course and the people involved?
We must first remember that the first half offered a great football match, we stood up to OL, who had certainly equalized. 17,000 people were present, which had not happened for a long time in Charléty, many families, young people from our partner clubs … Everything changed in the second half. Some madmen who should never have left Lyon, with the information available on possible clashes with alleged Parisian supporters, left the parking lot to attack the public. They should never have left Gare de Lyon, moreover, where, when their train arrived late, they began to make a mess with a certain number of them already drunk. Parking is the responsibility of the visiting club. Parisian supporters – not ours, our two ultras groups have remained calm and are not involved – have perhaps sought a confrontation, but that does not take away the responsibility of the Lyon side. And I especially remember that the violence also largely targeted families and ordinary spectators.

“Parking is the responsibility of the visiting club. Parisian supporters may have sought the confrontation, but that does not take away the responsibility of the Lyon side. ”

The security organization has been widely criticized, the lack of human resources in particular …
I have heard a lot of comments about the insufficient number of stewards. They were much more numerous than when we had received several thousand Lensois supporters. (during an accession roadblock in May 2019, Editor’s note) and everything had gone well. On the side of the OL, there were only 14 stewards, or according to observers 8 or 9. This clearly did not prevent the violence and that the faction which wanted to fight it goes in contact with the Parisians. The plexiglass separation held, but they got around it. Our stewards gave priority to evacuating families and all supporters, whoever they were, to ensure their safety. And then the police contained the overflows. We must also mention the admirable work of the rescuers. It’s not about turning stadiums into bunkers. We know that palpations have their limits, that it is possible to hide brass knuckles or, just like Friday night, to fight with belts. We just have to prevent these thugs from being in the gallery. It is up to the League and the authorities to take their responsibilities. The groups of Lyon claim that they are not involved as such, but we have seen individuals falling out of their ranks by wearing, for some, the logos of Bad Gones or Lyon 1950. Football is in the process of plunging , we must react. With the pandemic which continues, the continuation of Mediapro which is the failure of the previous direction of the LFP, we are already in a delicate situation … We must eradicate this evil, with the remoteness of the grounds as long as possible , sometimes for life, even if that saddens me from the point of view of my civic culture.

Are you suggesting that the police services did not anticipate or warn you of the risks of clashes between supporters?
It would be surprising if the specialized police services were not aware of this danger. In this case, it is obviously necessary to warn the clubs concerned. The atmosphere was already electric at the Gare de Lyon when the Lyonnais arrived. They should have been blocked there. We don’t want to end up with a ban on all travel. The other evening, a hundred supporters of Amiens came, without any problem. And I would like to recall the example of the massive presence of the people of Lens in our region, without incidents.

“In Charléty, the stewards did not do much to calm the supporters. They must be there first for the safety of the supporters, the public, the players, the interests of the club and not to come to terms with the most violent. ”

How to explain these differences in situation?
I think we have to think about security within clubs. And on the stewards. In the latter, in some clubs, they hardly want to rub shoulders with the most excited. In Charléty, the stewards did not do much to calm them down. They must be there first for the safety of the supporters, the public, the players, the interests of the club and not to come to terms with the most violent.

You now seem to be in open conflict with Jean-Michel Aulas on this subject, yet OL have recently made decisions towards their own supporters?
I regularly say good things about Jean-Michel Aulas, about the way he built OL and made it a great club. Simply, I find that with the supporters, he is not right. If since Sunday, OL has been taking sanctions, it is because these individuals were well known as violent, sometimes with fascist or racist political connections. We must deal with this problem, like Robin Leproux at PSG, with courage. Obviously and unfortunately, isolated acts can occur. What I did not admit in Jean-Michel Aulas’ speech is the idea of ​​co-responsibility. I also told him again: “We will help you, we will bring targeted complaints. ” And I have no problem with so-called PSG supporters being punished so harshly … This violence must end and this concerns everyone. I am the first to recognize that we live in an exacerbated and fragmented society and that this context is reflected in football.

“I find that with the supporters, Jean-Michel Aulas is not right. If since Sunday, OL has been taking sanctions, it is because these individuals were well known as violent, sometimes with fascist or racist political connections. ”

Are you satisfied with the reaction of the FFF and LFP? Don’t you find them too slow?
I will not give in to the bidding. As far as I’m interested, I’m not two or three days away. I expect strong measures, which also involve the public authorities. Finally, as I opened up to Vincent Labrune, the governance of the LFP must be changed. It is not normal that clubs are represented as such in its management, whether it is OL or another (Aulas is the representative of the FFF within the board of directors of the LFP, Editor’s note). If the clubs are directly on the board as is the case today, that people sit in several organizations at the same time, this induces a confusion of genres and can lead to conflicts of interest. Vincent Labrune does a good job. We must make it easier for him and make the operation of the League as calm as possible.

Your proximity to the President of the Republic is common knowledge, have you spoken to him about this?
No. He loves football and therefore he necessarily follows these cases, because the State is concerned. It is especially important that the public authorities accompany and support football when it has to take radical decisions. I repeat, football is in crisis and in danger.

Interview by Nicolas Kssis-Martov

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