“The ultras are the trade unionists of popular football”, explained to Release sports historian Sébastien Louis. In this health crisis, they also seem to be the guarantors of the health of spectators as much as the guardians of temples who only make sense with people in their spans. In a press release published on Monday, about fifty associations of supporters, ultras or not, and supporting around thirty clubs “Say no to a premature resumption of football” : “France has experienced its worst health crisis for several generations. Many people are dying in hospitals more in demand than ever. […] Everywhere, collective interest prevails. “
Press release from French platforms co-signed by 45 supporters groups, including many member groups of the ANS. pic.twitter.com/nTudNxmQ6I
– Asso.Nat.Supporters (@A_N_Supporters) April 13, 2020
Under these conditions, they write, “It is urgent to wait. It is not conceivable that football will resume prematurely. It is not possible that it will resume in camera. It will resume in due course when the health and social conditions are met. ” While the season is far from over, the football league has offered to resume L1 and L2 on August 22 and 23. Between the end of the season, the players’ vacations and the preparation, it is difficult to imagine such a scenario possible, except to want to resume quickly and behind closed doors. From Lille to Montpellier, from Brest to Strasbourg, the ultra groups then castigate these “” Thinking heads “of football who quarrel”, “far from these harsh, concrete realities, far from this capillary and anonymous solidarity” symbolized by these caregivers and ultras who decided to participate in the collective effort.
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Masks and pizzas
Because on the ground, a number of supporters deprived of their passion have decided to mobilize their forces for charitable, social actions or in favor of hospitals. As in Toulouse, where the Tolosa Indians raised more than 11,000 euros from 500 people to buy coffee, fruit juice, cakes or cookies for the Purpan and Rangueil teaching hospitals. A little further north, the Ultramarines also bring boxes overflowing with food at four Bordeaux hospitals. And, taken in Tenon or La Pitié-Salpêtrière, Massy (Essonne) or Chelles (Seine-et-Marne) – and even as far as Seine-Maritime or in Burgundy – the photos of hospital staff and firefighters are increasing daily, Collectif Ultra Paris scarf in hand and in medical combat uniforms, posing in front of boxes of foodstuffs financed by members or sympathizers of the CUP as well as pizzas offered by restaurateurs and delivered by members of the group.
– Collective Ultras Paris (@Co_Ultras_Paris) April 9, 2020
Even if not all of them are signatories to the press release, all of the associations organize its actions, rooted in their city and in solidarity with their hospital staff. Like the ultra Marseilles who, in addition to the banners hung in the stadium or in the streets in support of the mobilized staff and Professor Didier Raoult, the South Winners distributed some 3,000 protective masks collected from their members at destination hospitals, IHU and seafarers.
“Football torn from its roots”
An altruism that does not stop at supporters of elite clubs since those of FC Rouen, resident of National 2 (4e division), also collected 900 euros while the Rouen Fans hung a banner of support in front of the CHU “Strength and honor to our caregivers”.
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Even though football clubs have often displayed their support for hospital staff, with money or simple messages, the actions of ultra groups, in terms of their means, contrast with the will of directions giving the impression of wanting resume as soon as possible, so as not to see the windfall of TV rights escape them. Everyone, however, believes that they are defending the best interests of the club: some talking about financial survival, others about spectator health or the ridiculous nature of matches behind closed doors for months. “This football is dying of being torn from its roots and not being able to see more than a fiscal year, a window of transfers or a multi-year contract for television broadcasting. […] [Le football professionnel] must take advantage of this break time to rethink “, explain the associations in their press release. Who conclude: “Football” at all costs “is a football of shame, which will have no future.”