Ahead of FC Basel’s away trip to Nice in the second leg of the Europa Conference League quarter final, French authorities have banned the Swiss club’s fans from attending the match, fearing clashes between supporters and a supposed’ lack of security resources’ to deal with the match.
According to the French National Association of Supporters, 16 coaches containing fans which were headed to the Azur coast had been stopped and turned back at the Italian-French border. The Italian press had reported that around 1000 fans were present in the nearby Italian town of Sanremo the preceding day. This is reportedly where a large majority of Basel fans will be for the match.
“The local authorities and the ministry indicated that they had to prohibit the movement of supporters on the grounds that there were not enough police to escort 15 coaches along 30km of highway.In reality, the police force was tripled to block the border on the motorway,” said the association on Twitter.
The mayor of Nice and the French interior ministry had justified banning away supporters from attending the match because of “specific circumstances” which meant that they did not have the resources to police what they thought was a match at risk of seeing violence between fans – a now too-common occurrence for away supporters in Ligue 1, Ligue 2, and the Championnat National.
Authorities had cited Emmanuel Macron’s visit to nearby Hérault in the next coming days, as well as “non-declared” organised protests against a controversial pension reform that has been forced through by President over recent months. They claimed that Police resources were already stretched to deal with these issues.
1800 Nice fans travelled to Basel for the first leg (2-2) without impediment or Police convoy.
GFFN | George Boxall