French attempt to crackdown on violence with series of away fan travel bans

December 8 – More away fans are being banned from attending matches in France after the death of a supporter in Nantes last weekend prompted authorities to call for a crackdown on violence.

Sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said this week that stopping away fans from travelling could help restore calm.

Reims is the latest club to bar its fans travelling to away games after this Sunday’s match at Nice was identified as “at risk” of violence.

“Stade de Reims has therefore closed the sale of tickets in the visitors’ sector for this match, and will automatically refund all Reims fans who had already booked their tickets,” Reims said.

Lens, Auxerre and Bordeaux will all have bans on away fans this weekend.

Lyon fans were not allowed to attend Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Marseille and Lens supporters have been banned from travelling to tonight’s match in Montpellier.

Marseille supporters at their Stade Velodrome deployed banners decrying such bans before their team’s match against Lyon.

“Banned from traveling in the country of freedoms. Today more than ever, freedom for ultras,” the message read, in a reference to diehard fans often described as ‘ultras’.

One fan group has taken legal action aimed at stopping French authorities from banning away supporters attending some games this weekend.

The National Supporters’ Association has taken legal action challenging French authorities’ bans on away supporters at four games this weekend, referring the matter to France’s highest administrative court.

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