« Le Trophée des champions est un match qui devrait avoir lieu en France »

« Le Trophée des champions est un match qui devrait avoir lieu en France »

Historic group of FC Nantes fans, the Brigade Loire have announced that they will not travel to Israel to support their club during this Sunday’s Champions Trophy against PSG. While the LFP has once again moved its Super Cup to Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield stadium to promote Ligue 1 abroad, the Nantes intend to express their disagreement with a mercantilist view that would suggest that the treatment of fans in France would be secondary. Interview with Romain Gaudin, the capo used to making Beaujoire roar.


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Why did the Loire Brigade decide to boycott this Champions Trophy?
Simply because it is a game that should take place in France. It is as if we were playing a French Cup final or a league match abroad for commercial reasons. Since 2009, the LFP has played this match in ten countries under the pretext of selling our Ligue 1 to a new audience. It is not acceptable when at the same time the authorities wage war on us fans with declarations and measures to keep us away from the stadiums. Releasing the most ardent public – which would nevertheless be a real added value for our championship – to seek versatile consumers who do not care, is quite cynical on the part of the League. Through this press release, we wanted to clearly explain the reasons for our absence because most of the ultra-French groups affected by these relocations generally agree, but have not done so in the past.

Have you heard from Collectif Ultras Paris since their press release?
No, there is no news, but last year they had not moved for the Champions Trophy in Tel Aviv. [défaite 1-0 du PSG contre Lille, NDLR]. Only there had been no official speech to denounce all this.

How much did the fact that it was in Israel, where there are many political symbols, influence your decision?
It would have been exactly the same if the match had taken place in China, the United States or Gabon. For us, there was no difference. Some media picked up our statement implying that we were boycotting especially because it was Israel. It made pro-Palestinians happy and they called us anti-Semites… But no, there was no such ulterior motive behind our decision.

“When we see the trouble they go to to crush us, it poses a problem for us to see the League leaning towards countries that don’t give a damn about our French football. »

In your press release, you say that supporters are considered as “undesirable or even expelled from the stadiums” . Have you felt a concrete deterioration in the conditions of supervision in the stadiums and on trips due to Covid?
The return to the stadium after Covid has been hot. The prefecture had done its best to impress us. We came face to face with the Rapid Intervention Section (SIR) who were surely wondering where the 3,000 untied people they were supposed to house were. It seems that they imagine us with a whole command… In the end, they fulfilled their role, so we did not let ourselves be carried away by those pressures. But it is always the same with the question of followers. They put more energy into trying to break our balls than into creating a dialogue to reduce tensions. When we see the trouble we are taking in France to crush us, it is a problem for us to see that the League is leaning towards countries that don’t give a damn about our French football. We have the feeling all year long of fighting to do what we like the most, which is to animate the stadiums. Everything is always very complicated: there is little communication, and I am not even talking about the French Cup sketch in Saint-Denis.

What happened?
Let’s say that given the organization of our final, we were not surprised to see what happened in the Champions League. We had to fend for ourselves. For weeks we wondered how we could mount a procession of 10,000 Nantes because it is something that is managed with the public authorities. But we got no response from our various interlocutors. So, we took the lead and announced our procession without any agreement. Obviously, they took note of the trick, but when we showed up, the Saint-Denis city council hardly seemed to have been informed. It was a nameless brothel. Honestly, given the lack of organization, if we had wanted it to go to hell as they sometimes say, it would have been very simple. The police, the public authorities, everyone was overwhelmed.

“In France, Dijonnais are banned in Auxerre or Rémois in Troyes. I think that tomorrow, if there are 6,000 people traveling for a Ligue 2 match, it’s on the front page of the 8pm news, it’s highly unlikely. »

Returning to the Champions Trophy, he denounces a mercantilist vision of football advocated by the League. What would it take to restore the football you fight for?
The Champions Trophy should already be returned to France. So, the general philosophy must be changed. In today’s football, you have to earn money. But at some point, it is also to give pleasure to people who subscribe every year. When we compare with other countries, we have the feeling that in other places there is a real desire to attract people to the stadium. In Germany, for example, 6,000 guys from Rostock traveled to Hamburg in the second division last week. There is a world of difference. In France, Dijonnais are banned in Auxerre or Rémois in Troyes. I think that tomorrow if there are 6,000 people traveling for a Ligue 2 match, it’s on the front page of the 20:00 news, it’s highly unlikely.

This season he will play the Europa League with possible trips to Israel, Azerbaijan or Turkey. Could you boycott these trips too?
Going to watch a European Cup match abroad is no problem, it’s completely logical. We will not boycott. Whether in Israel or anywhere else. Wherever we can go in the European Cup, we will go.

Are you still going to watch the Champions Trophy against Paris this Sunday?
Let’s see this between us, of course. We are used to meeting when we are prohibited from traveling. But frankly, the fact that it is relocating does not encourage enthusiasm. In Nantes, there are no particular expectations for this match.

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