Ligue 1 News - High security for rescheduled “Clasico”
Saturday 21 November 2009
France this week is on high security alert following the advice of the Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux.
The clasico was postponed just under a month ago hours before kick-off after an outbreak of swine flu in the PSG camp. PSG players Mamadou Sakho, Ludovic Giuly and Jérémy Clément succumbed to the H1N1 virus. The two camps, OM and PSG take to the stage for a second attempt at the Stade Velodrome this Friday in an eagerly awaited grudge match.
Following the success of Algeria in reaching their first World Cup finals since 1986 coupled with one of the biggest matches of the Ligue 1 season, France security is on high alert this week to stifle any potential trouble throughout the country.
A special train has been organised to transport around 700 PSG fans from the capital down to the south coast. Large sums of money have been invested by both clubs and the state in order to ensure the safety of all supporters in the build up to the crunch match. The match itself due to the fierce rivalry between the two teams has been classed as “high risk”, with the state and clubs having two meetings already on the issue. Guy Cazadamont, the head of security at OM’s Stade Velodrome has put in place over 740 surveillance staff as well as 600 mobilised police, which he described as “increased vigilance in the stadium”. However, the increased police presence is set to be extended to all around the outskirts of the stadium as well as the town itself to avoid potential incidents.
Jean-Claude Dassier, the president of OM said: “In Marseilles, we have no hooligans among the supporters of OM but we cannot allow new incidents. If they unfortunately occur, authorities are there to make radical decisions. They cannot continue mobilizing such police forces for sporting events. It is necessary to bring sports back to where they must remain.”
Unfortunately for Dassier, the sporting world does not exist in this utopia and it remains impossible to conduct match day security without making large allowances for the safety of supporters after previous footballing tragedies such as the Hillsborough or Heisel disasters. With this in mind PSG officials have introduced the 700 supporters travelling to Marseille with a 100 euro ticket which includes the match fee and train fare. In addition over 70 security agents will patrol the train, where only sandwiches and drinks are allowed in an alcohol free zone. The safety scheme on the part of the Parisian club is to prevent fans from travelling to the match by their own means.
When the two teams finally lock horns tonight in the Stade Velodrome, they both find themselves in the middle of a poor run of form. Marseille are in 8th place, six points off early pace setters Bordeaux, having drawn their last two matches and without a victory since defeating Nancy nearly a month ago. PSG find themselves in the bottom half of the table with only one win in their last seven matches, with their last victory coming in a 4-1 away in Sochaux. For matches of this ilk, the form-book is undoubtedly thrown out of the window and with the high security in place; the match is likely to be a tense and certainly tempestuous affair.
After a week of World Cup play-off action, some of Ligue 1’s biggest stars have booked their ticket for next summer’s competition. After France’s controversial extra-time aggregate victory over the Irish in Paris, a large proportion of the French squad who ply their trade in France’s top flight will be jetting off to South Africa including Sidney Govou, Hugo Lloris and Jeremy Toulalan, all of OL. Lorient’s Yazid Manouri, who captains Algeria, guided his country to their first World Cup appearance since 1986 as they overcame Egypt 1-0 in Sudan to the delight of the large Algerian contingent in l’Hexagone. It will be the first time that France and Algeria, a former colony of France, have graced the same footballing stage for over 24 years.
In South America, Monaco’s midfielder Diego Perez played his part in a 1-1 2nd leg draw against Costa Rica, which saw Uruguay eliminate their rivals 2-1 on aggregate. Moving back into the European stage, Slovenia pulled off a shock aggregate victory on the away goals rule against Guus Hiddink’s Russia. Slovenia’s 1-0 win in Maribor included Grenoble stopper Bostjan Cesar, Sochaux’s Bojan Jokic and Auxerre’s Valter Birsa. There was however no such luck for Lyon midfielder Miralem Pjanic as he and his team succumbed to a 2-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of the Portuguese. Portugal won the second leg after Raul Meireles’ goal ensured that the world’s most expensive player Cristiano Ronaldo will be in South Africa next summer.