Sevilla Fans Banned from Travelling to Lens for Champions League Match
Sevilla fans have received disappointing news as they have been prohibited from attending their team’s final Champions League group stage match against Lens in France. The ban was announced by French interior minister Gerald Darmanin in an interview on Sunday night and has now been confirmed by a local government order.
According to the order issued by the Pas-de-Calais department, any person identified as a Sevilla supporter or displaying behaviors associated with supporting the team will be forbidden from entering Lens’ Bollaert-Delelis stadium or its surroundings from 10am on Tuesday, December 12 to 3am on Wednesday, December 13.
Lens currently sits in third place in Group B with five points, still having a chance to progress to the last-16. On the other hand, Sevilla is at the bottom of the group with only two points. Both teams are still in contention for a Europa League spot.
The decision to ban Sevilla fans was made due to concerns over security. The Pas-de-Calais department cited previous incidents, including attempts at organizing fights between Lens and Sevilla fans, clashes between Sevilla and Arsenal fans, and altercations involving Sevilla and Roma fans before last season’s Europa League final.
The order also mentioned the friendship between Sevilla supporters and those of Belgian side Club de Liege, who were allowed to travel to the match due to their geographical proximity. Additionally, the “very strong migrant pressure in Calais” was considered a factor.
Sevilla has expressed its disappointment with the ban and is actively engaging with the Spanish government to prevent its implementation. The club plans to file a complaint with UEFA regarding the lack of notice and time for response. A major Spanish supporters’ group has also vowed to challenge the order in court.
Sevilla president Jose Castro criticized the decision, calling it “a genuine atrocity.” The club’s liaison officer will be in contact with the affected fans to provide assistance. Castro emphasized that the ban does not make sense as the fans only wish to support their team.
FASFE, the Federation of Shareholders and Members of Spanish Football, considers the order to be a violation of European Union rules. They plan to dispute it in court with the support of their counterparts in the National Association of French Supporters and Football Supporters Europe.
The situation remains uncertain, but Sevilla and its fans are hopeful that a resolution can be reached before the match. The club has also reached out to UEFA for further guidance and updates.
The next few hours will be crucial in resolving this matter, which has caused frustration among fans and officials alike. The lack of official communication and short notice has been deemed unacceptable, limiting the rights of European citizens, particularly Spaniards, according to Sevilla president Jose Castro.
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