Police: Racism Returns to French Football Terraces

French Football Terraces filled with racism as its top two football divisions have witnessed an unwelcome upsurge in racist abuse from the terraces in the 2011-12 season to date, a police report released on Monday revealed.

According to Antoine Boutonnet, head of the National Division for the Fight against Hooliganism (DNLH), “a worrying phenomenon is the return of racism in the stands”.

He cited a fan arrested for making a Nazi salute during a game at Brest on January 28th, as well as “six pseudo-Lyon supporters” who were arrested after “spraypainting the cars of Saint-Etienne supporters and a building with signs resembling swastikas”.

“Although the signs are weak for the time being, we’re taking them into account immediately and we are extremely vigilant,” added Boutonnet.

“There is zero tolerance and we won’t hesitate to intervene.”

Boutonnet also revealed that, although instances of hooliganism in and around stadiums had fallen, the use of flares and other pyrotechnic devices had risen sharply.

Since Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 resumed at the start of the season, police have made 432 hooliganism-related arrests and issued 341 stadium banning orders.

The Local – Published: 21 Feb 2012 08:01 GMT+1

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