Stop me when this becomes familiar: a match in Ligue 1 was abandoned over the weekend after fan disturbance. This time, it was Marseille’s Dimitri Payet getting hit in the head by a bottle thrown by Lyon fans. According to league officials, Payet was also the target of discriminatory comments.
Per the Guardian, the crowds at Montpellier, Angers, Marseille and St Etienne have all also had issues this season. And that does not include the incidents at Nice where fans came onto the pitch and got into physical altercations with Marseille players. Nor does it cover Lens vs. Lille where fans threw objects at each other and ran onto the field.
What are we doing here, y’all?
France seems to be having particular trouble with unruly supporters, but the phenomenon is certainly not limited to Ligue 1. Earlier this month, a number of West Ham fans on a plane sang an anti-Semitic song at a Hasidic passenger. The FA was sanctioned for fan misbehavior during the Euros. I can’t find the article right now, but I shared it from TSF and my personal Twitter, but right around the time of the Euro final, a columnist wrote her account of all the sexist and misogynistic things that had been said / done to her on matchdays. Mexican national team fans, despite their team being sanctioned, are still regularly shouting a homophobic chant. And as we see every week, Premier League teams are still taking a knee in protest of racism in football.
I don’t really want to put it into the larger societal context, mostly because that will leave me bummed out and that’s not how I want to start my week. But it’s a big problem that the football world has done little to address. It’s becoming clear that fines and temporary stadium bans aren’t effective. Sometimes the problem goes away for a little while, then it comes back.
It’s time to up the ante with harsher punishment (and more grassroots work to teach people not to be hateful, bigoted garbage humans). At the risk of wildly oversimplifying things, just, like, don’t be dicks. It really isn’t (or shouldn’t be) that hard.