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Soccer.  How Breton pro clubs prevent their supporters from overflowing – football




At FC Lorient, a dialogue with all supporters’ associations

“These uncontrolled excesses are regrettable for football and we hope that it will disappear. But I don’t have a lesson to teach anyone. It can happen… ”begins Arnaud Tanguy. But the general manager of FC Lorient wants to highlight the important role of the SLO (Service Liaison Officer), a supporter referent such as exists in all clubs, with whom the club “exchanges in an organized and coordinated manner”. “We must remain vigilant on signs of potential overflows and, if necessary, put in place safety or security measures by our manager and the companies with which we collaborate. But, for the moment, this is not what we are experiencing in Lorient where the positive dynamic is creating momentum for the return to the stadium, more than appreciable and conducive to experiencing great emotions, ”he continues. “The SLO allows a dialogue, a constructive exchange in the good times and the not so good times that can exist here. Today, we have this dialogue with our ultras but not only them: all the supporters’ associations too ”.

The Stade Brestois highlights its “mostly friendly” atmosphere

For the director of security at the Stade Brestois, “In Brest, we are lucky to have a good audience, with a real football culture. The atmosphere, in and around the stadium, is overwhelmingly friendly, which we can only congratulate. We also have sections of supporters who play the game, with whom we exchange a lot and with whom the dialogue is good ”. Sylvain Dirick recognizes, however, “that we could put all the world’s security devices in place, we are never really safe from possible overflows, recent events are there to remind us”. There is a specific safety plan for Stade Francis-le-Blé with 160 security guards (210 during matches classified as “at risk”) to remedy any overflows.

“Each meeting is preceded by meetings where representatives of the club, the services of the city and the Metropolis, the police and the prefecture meet, and are present, on match nights, at the security PC, security representatives of the Stade Brest and the opposing club, but also members of the police, the prefecture and the prosecution, so that a crisis unit can be activated very quickly if necessary, ”explains the director of security. During a match identified “at risk” by the national division against hooliganism (DNLH), in conjunction with local correspondents at the central police station and the club, these meetings are held three weeks before the match, in the sub-prefecture.

More security officers at Stade Rennais

“Stadium manager” of Roazhon Park, Karim Houari explains that the numbers have been revised upwards this season, as part of the prevention, in particular the invasion of the field. “The processes have not been reviewed in depth. But we reinforced the positions around the field and also added more people around the palpations. We have 340 stewards and 160 security guards, or 500 people, to which are added one or two CRS companies and the Rennes Intervention Section ”, explains the Rennes manager. Meetings are organized “to understand the risks with all the stakeholders”, that is to say the two clubs, the police (DDSP, Territorial Security), the Prefecture and the city of Rennes (the Deputy for Security and Municipal Police). “We are the largest performance hall in the West,” sums up Karim Houari.

500 people are responsible for security on match days at Roazhon Park, home of Stade Rennais. (Photo archives Nicolas Créach)

At Guingamp, the advantage, “is that we put names on faces”

“We have not been impacted by the resurgence of violence in the stadiums: our audience is family and there are many discussions with representatives of Kop Rouge, assures Erwan Garnier, the director of safety and security. We have a very close link and I care about it. They are “Ultras” but in a good sense because the term has become pejorative. In the first sense, it simply means that they are supporters who come to support their team ”.

Serge Lucas, the safety referent, confirms all the same that “vigilance is increased with regard to current events. The system remains the same for each match: we have around 70 security guards who ensure filtering on the public highway, entrances to the stadium, pat-downs and security inside the enclosure. There are then about forty volunteers who take care of the reception as well as the control of tickets and the health pass ”. But he agrees with his director: “Our audience is nice, there is little agitation and even if there is, it is controllable. Our advantage is that we know the supporters, we put names on their faces. Alcohol can sometimes be a problem, but there is less and less of it. And on the visitor side, there are only five, ten or thirty in the yard. Ligue 2 is unlike Ligue 1 ”.

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