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lawyer Pierre Barthélémy welcomes the decree on the use of smoke bombs in stadiums

Jean-Baptiste Sarrazin, with AFP
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9:18 p.m., March 29, 2023

It’s a small revolution in football stadiums in France. A decree published in the Official Journal will allow experimentation with the use of pyrotechnic devices in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. A major step forward for the lawyer Pierre Barthélémy present in “Europe 1 Sport”.

The experimentation with smoke bombs in stadiums until 2025 was specified on Wednesday in a decree published in the Official Journal, with the aim of “moving towards the disappearance of the illegal and unsafe use” of pyrotechnic devices by supporters. Already authorized by the “sports law” of March 2, 2022, this experiment will be carried out until March 2, 2025 and could then be extended or extended by “permanent provisions”, according to the decree which specifies the modalities.

“It is not a legalization of pyrotechnics. It is an experiment by way of derogation so pyrotechnics remains prohibited in stadiums”, recalled Pierre Barthélémy, lawyer and member of the PSG Supporters’ Association. Prohibited in France, the use of rockets or fireworks in a sports arena is regularly the subject of disciplinary sanctions in football: almost every week, the Professional Football League (LFP) pins clubs for use by their supporters pyrotechnic devices.

“It’s a very good thing because it puts an end to a system of hypocrisy where the broadcasters were happy to promote the images but on the other hand there were stadium bans”, was fruitful l former fan of the stands at the Parc des Princes. A measure that will allow clubs to regulate this use and avoid sanctions such as matches behind closed doors.

A specific framework

This decree specifies under which conditions a pyrotechnic animation can be organized: a detailed request must reach the authorities one month in advance, the animation must be carried out under the control of a qualified craftsman and in a very specific area, in particular. “One month at the latest before a match, the group of supporters has defined a demonstration scheme with its club. The prefecture then has a month to authorize it or not”, specified Pierre Barthélémy.

Since 2019, several experiments have already taken place in professional football, after the work of the National Support Authority (INS) which brings together players from the stands, sport and the authorities under the aegis of the Ministry of Sports. During the 2021/22 football season, around fifteen experiments had thus been validated by the authorities in various stadiums in France.


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