Marseille fear tit-for-tat travel ban on supporters as police look to ban Benfica fans

According to RMC Sport, Bouches-du-Rhône Police Prefecture will ban Benfica supporters from attending their Europa League quarter-final against Olympique de Marseille, with the game categorised as a high-risk fixture. 

This has been a frequent issue for travelling supporters in France this season, following the death of an FC Nantes fan in December. Across all competitions and levels, including the European ties, away fans have been the target of travel bans to prevent further tragedies. 

In this case, the police have identified 200-300 violent supporters within the Benfica ultra groups that they are concerned about, fearing clashes between Marseille and Benfica’s opposing sets of ultra groups. 

They also have reservations about the number of supporters that will be travelling to see their team and that the fans will be arriving in small groups, by plane or car, and not by bus, which makes the supporters’ movements harder to track and predict. 

Marseille ‘Fear that the principle of reciprocity would be applied’ 

RMC Sport reports that this decision has been strongly contested by the Marseille management who informed the paper that they “consider that it would be regrettable if Portuguese supporters were deprived of travelling to follow their team… and fear that the principle of reciprocity would be applied.” 

Marseille have contacted the police headquarters and are awaiting written confirmation informing them of their decision. 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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