“The Champions Trophy is a match that must happen in… / Champions Trophy / PSG-Nantes / SOFOOT.com

A historic group of supporters of FC Nantes, the Brigade Loire has announced that it will not travel to Israel to support its club during this Sunday’s Champions Trophy against PSG. As the LFP once again moved its Supercup to Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield stadium to promote Ligue 1 abroad, the people of Nantes sought to voice their disapproval of a business vision that would suggest that the treatment of French supporters would be secondary. Interview with Romain Gaudin, the capo used to making Beaujoire roar.


Why did the Loire Brigade decide to boycott this Champions Trophy?
Because this is a match that should happen in France. It’s like we’re playing a Coupe de France final or a league game abroad for commercial reasons. Since 2009, the LFP has played this game 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 are at war with us, the supporters, with declarations and measures to keep us away from the stadiums. Freeing the most ardent public – which can be a real added value for our championship – to find many consumers who do not care, it is very daring on the part of the League. Through this press release, we want to explain the reasons for our absence clearly because most of the ultra French groups concerned with these relocations are in general agreement, but this has not been done in the past .

Have you heard from Collectif Ultras Paris since your press release?
No, no news, but last year, they didn’t move for the Champions Trophy in Tel Aviv [défaite 1-0 du PSG contre Lille, NDLR]. Only, there is no official speech to criticize all this.

How much does the fact that it’s in Israel, where there are so many political symbols, affect your decision?
It would have been the same if the match took place in China, the United States or Gabon. For us, there is no difference. Some media took our statement to mean that we are boycotting mainly because it is Israel. This makes pro-Palestinians happy and we are called anti-Semites… But no, there is 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 on countries that do not care about our French football. »

In your press release, you say that supporters are considered “unwanted or even kicked out of stadiums” . Have you felt a concrete deterioration in the management conditions in stadiums and in travel from Covid?
The return to the stadium after the Covid is hot. The prefecture needs a lot of appreciation from us. We found ourselves facing the Rapid Intervention Section (SIR) surely wondering where the 3000 freed people it will accommodate. We had the impression that they imagined us with a whole commando… In the end, they played their role, so we did not allow ourselves to face these pressures. But the supporters always have the same question. They put more energy into trying to break our balls than creating a dialogue to reduce tensions. When we see the trouble we face in France to crush us, it poses a problem for us to see the League leaning on countries that have nothing to offer our French football. We have the feeling throughout the year to fight to do what we want the most, which is to revive the stadiums. Everything is always very complicated: there is little communication, and I am not talking about the sketch for the Coupe de France in Saint-Denis.

What happened?
Let’s say given the organization of our end, we are not surprised when we see what happened for the Champions League. We have to manage ourselves. For weeks, we have been asking how we can make a procession of 10,000 residents of Nantes because it is something that is managed by the public authorities. But we received no response from our various interlocutors. So, we took the lead and announced our procession without agreement. Apparently, they noticed the ruse, but when we showed up, the municipality of Saint-Denis seemed barely informed. It was a nameless brothel. To be honest, due to the lack of organization, if we wanted it to go as crazy as they sometimes admit, it would have been very easy. The police, the public authorities, everyone is overwhelmed.

“In France, Dijonnais is banned from Auxerre or Rémois from Troyes. I think that tomorrow, if there are 6,000 people traveling for a match in Ligue 2, it will be on the front page of the 8 pm newscast , this is not possible. »

To return to the Champions Trophy, you criticize a mercantile vision of football promoted by the League. What does it take to restore the football you fought for?
Already, the Champions Trophy must be returned to France. Then, the general philosophy must be changed. In today’s football, you have to earn. But at some point, it is also to give happiness to the people who subscribe every year. If we compare with other countries, we have the feeling that elsewhere, there is a real desire to attract people to the stadium. For example in Germany, 6000 men from Rostock traveled to Hamburg in the second division last week. There is a world of difference. In France, Dijonnais is banned from Auxerre or Rémois from Troyes. I think that tomorrow if there are 6,000 people traveling for a match in Ligue 2, it will be on the front page of the 8 pm newscast, it is not possible.

This season, you play in the Europa League with a potential trip to Israel, Azerbaijan or Turkey. Can you boycott these trips too?
Watching a European Cup match abroad, no problem, it’s completely logical. We will not boycott. Whether in Israel or elsewhere. Wherever we can go in the European Cup, we will go.

Will you be watching the Champions Trophy against Paris this Sunday?
We’ll see it between us, of course. We are used to seeing each other when we are banned from traveling. But honestly, the fact that it was moved did not inspire enthusiasm. In Nantes, there are no specific expectations for this match.

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