More away supporters hit by travel bans in France following death of a soccer fan

PARIS (AP) — More away fans are being banned from attending matches in France after the death of a supporter in Nantes last weekend prompted authorities to call for a crackdown on violence.

Sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said this week that preventing supporters from traveling to rival clubs could help to restore calm following a series of incidents this season.

The message has been heard.

Reims said on Thursday that its fans were not authorized to travel to Nice because their French league match on Sunday in the Riviera city has been identified as “at risk” of violence.

“Stade de Reims has therefore closed the sale of tickets in the visitors’ sector for this match, and will automatically refund all Reims fans who had already booked their tickets,” Reims said.

Lyon fans were not allowed to attend Wednesday’s 3-0 loss at Marseille, and Lens supporters have been banned from travelling to Friday’s match in Montpellier.

In France, traveling fans are regularly banned from high-risk games such as those pitting together bitter rivals Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille. But Oudea-Castera suggested the measure could be used more often.

Marseille fans at their Stade Velodrome deployed banners protesting such bans before their team’s match against Lyon. “Banned from traveling in the country of freedoms. Today more than ever, freedom for ultras,” their message read, in a reference to diehard fans often described as “ultras.”

The Nantes fan who died last week was killed following a fight between supporters before the club’s 1-0 win over Nice. The public prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into voluntary manslaughter.


AP soccer:

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