French threaten to close stadia again after PSG Ultras break social distancing rules

July 21 – The French government has threatened to re-impose a ban on fans after Paris St Germain supporters failed to observe Covid-19 social distancing rules in last Friday’s friendly against Waasland-Beveren.

France’s Minister for Sports Roxana Maracineanu said closed-door stadiums would return “if the measures intended to fight against the spread of the virus are not respected.”

France recently partially lifted its rules by allowing a maximum of 5,000 spectators to attend sports events, but some PSG fans ignored segregation in what was a their first home game since lockdown.

“Respecting distances and health protocols is an absolute necessity for the health of supporters and of all French people,” the ministry said in a statement.”

France is the first of the top European leagues to welcome supporters back inside stadiums now that they have flattened the coronavirus curve.

But Patrick Wolff, president of France’s National Association of Professional Sports Leagues, was quoted as saying: “The PSG Ultras shot themselves in the foot and at the same time shot in the foot of all French professional sport.”

“Everyone must be responsible. I have a great feeling of sadness after what happened at the Parc des Princes. This was a test after we have been working for weeks to introduce this next phase and because of their selfish actions, they could have put jobs in jeopardy on an economic level if a ban is reinstated.”

PSG Ultras leader Romain Mabille promised there would be no repeat. “We underestimated our enthusiasm and we managed it very badly,” he said. “We were irresponsible.”

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