January 26, 2022

the story of that evening of violence

Friday evening, the 32nd final of the Coupe de France between Paris FC and Olympique Lyonnais turned into a nightmare after clashes between supporters. RMC Sport retraces the scenario of this incredible evening.

Five days after the incidents during the half-time of the Paris FC-Olympique Lyonnais match, on behalf of the 32nd finals of the Coupe de France, the light is beginning to shine on certain points of the file. The investigation opened on Saturday of the head of voluntary violence within a sports arena is progressing. Return on a nightmare evening for the two clubs and the police services.

Preparing for a match like this Paris FC-Lyon begins with security meetings prior to the meeting and email exchanges between the two clubs and the State services. As announced on Sunday by RMC Sport, the intelligence services had clues that established a risk of serious disturbance to public order before and during this Coupe de France meeting. Clearly, PSG supporters wanted to do battle with Lyon fans. But this “fight” should not take place inside the stadium, according to the first elements collected by RMC Sport.

A blur on the dangerousness of the match

Since Saturday, Pierre Ferracci, the president of the PFC, affirms that the intelligence services have not alerted the security of the Ligue 2 club on the dangerousness of the match. It is true that during the security meetings ahead of the meeting, the Paris police headquarters mainly spoke of a risk outside the enclosure. Even if the police services have asked Paris FC to significantly increase the security service with the recruitment of stewards for this match.

This vagueness on the dangerousness of the meeting is even told by police officers at RMC Sport. To prove their point, some officials of the Paris Police Prefecture put forward the order prohibiting PSG supporters which had been issued by the prefecture just before the match. A question is asked by several interlocutors: “With the knowledge of this risk, why not quite simply prohibit the movement of Lyonnais?”

The train delay was a problem

The Lyon supporters’ train was delayed when it arrived at Gare de Lyon. As soon as it descends, the group, in agreement with the police, is taken care of. “From the station to the stadium, the trip goes perfectly, says an ultra present in one of the two buses chartered to transport the supporters. The police escort was quite substantial.” According to our information, 60 police officers were dedicated to this protection.

A policeman describes to us “a normal atmosphere” at the Gare de Lyon. The journey therefore proceeds smoothly. Fans arrived at the search in front of the stadium around 9:10 p.m. The search of Lyon supporters is of great interest to investigators. To speed up the process, some supporters would not have been searched according to the standard and prohibited items could have entered the sports arena. All 120 Lyon ultras were installed in their parking lot at 9:25 p.m., 25 minutes after the start of the meeting.

The police procession flanking the OL ultras between the Gare de Lyon and the Charléty stadium, in Paris on December 17, 2021
The police procession flanking the OL ultras between Gare de Lyon and Charléty stadium, in Paris on December 17, 2021 © BFM Lyon / RMC Sport

“A first firecracker” starts the fight

The police investigation is progressing and covers more than three hours of video surveillance cameras. But whether it is on the side of the Lyon supporters or the police forces, the version is the same: the delay of the train would have played indirectly on the start of the events. The vagueness still remains on the access of Parisians to the stadium, especially for an individual banned from the stadium. 9.45 p.m., at half-time for the game, incidents broke out. “It’s a first firecracker which scares many people and which will create these interminable minutes”, confides a Bad Gones.

On the videos that we have been able to consult, RMC Sport is able to identify members of the “porte 411” group present in a fight at the top of the stand. On the images available on the Internet and in Telegram groups, we can see a Parisian supporter cracking a smoke and pointing it in the direction of the face of a Lyonnais. At that moment, eight to nine Parisians face three to four Lyonnais armed with belts and other unidentifiable elements via the videos. The fight continues and just below, about thirty Lyonnais continue to compress the stewards against the windows of their parking lot. Blows are exchanged just above the plexiglass.

Crowd movement and land invasion

Behind, a supporter, a priori Parisian, falls down the stairs of Charléty for several meters, this video has been touring social networks since Friday. And the crowd movement will start right after this scene. A smoke bomb is thrown high and landed at the bottom of the stand near supporters who just wanted to watch a football match.

These supporters are afraid, a movement occurs at the bottom of the stand and the first supporters enter the Charléty stadium, initially stopped by a security barrier placed in front of the stands. The movement continues and the supporters step over the last barrier. The security service of the PFC is overwhelmed and the fans are present on the athletics track and the lawn of Charléty.

RMC Sport has been able to discuss with several ultras Lyonnais since Friday. All repeat an element: “We had to protect our tarpaulin”. The tarpaulin is the ultimate totem in the ultra world, the symbol of an identity. “We were very suspicious from the start of the incidents, we were afraid for our tarpaulin. If we had left without, it was the ultimate insult,” said a Bad Gones. Finally, the Lyonnais managed to keep it.

The incidents unfold for several minutes. Until the return of the players on the lawn, CRS were still in the stands facing the supporters. Calm will return later. At the time, no arrest by the police. The Lyonnais (from Lyon) left the stadium first with the two chartered buses. 300 meters after the start, just behind the cemetery next to the stadium, a bus will be graveled and a window broken.

“We have known the faster police”

A last point could also feed the speeches of the two clubs: the intervention of the police. “They took a long time to intervene,” says a steward of the Paris FC security service. “It is true that we have known the police officers faster and more lively”, completes an ultra of the OL. According to police sources at RMC Sport, the CRS intervene inside the stadium when the receiving club calls on them and is no longer able to guarantee the safety of those present.

Investigators still have several points to study and police custody could recur in the coming days in Paris and Lyon. As RMC Sport unveiled on Wednesday, the police custody of the three members of “gate 411” were lifted during the day. A classification without follow-up was decided yesterday for one of them, for lack of sufficiently characterized offense. The last two are summoned before the Criminal Court at a later date to be judged on the count of violence in assembly. They were placed under judicial control on Wednesday pending their appearance, including a ban on appearing in a stadium or around.