With their travelling fans’ misbehaviour causing last night’s cup tie against Paris FC to be called off, Lyon have begun identifying the offenders in an attempt to stamp out what is becoming a growing problem for them this season.
L’Équipe report today that the club’s hooligan groups often count particularly violent fans among their numbers, and even openly fascist individuals. Several of those violent individuals at Friday evening’s game have been identified, as well as a man who hurled racist abuse and imitated a monkey, before the situation had degenerated.
The club has stated its intention of handing lifetime stadium bans to such offenders. In the meantime, OL themselves have banned their own fan groups from travelling to away fixtures “until further notice”. According to the club, this Saturday’s statement was generally well received by those groups.
Over the last few years, a number of incidents have indicated that there is a small minority of fans placed in Lyon’s Virage Sud [South Stand] who have been causing trouble. From Nazi salutes in a match against CSKA Moscow in 2018, to attacks on opposition fans against Beşiktaş in 2017, to a “Refugees Not Welcome” banner against Lille in 2015.
The latter incident involved “Mezza Lyon”, a group of around 15 individuals, who are said to be the most active among the extremist hooligans. L’Équipe’s sources present on Friday night have indicated that several of their members were at the stadium on Friday, and were the catalysts of the clashes. The group are reportedly admirers of Benito Mussolini and have visited the Italian dictator’s tomb, and engage in fights against other hooligan groups.