Sevilla Fans Banned from Travelling to Lens for Champions League Match
Sevilla fans have received disappointing news as they have been prohibited from traveling to Lens for their final Champions League group stage match against the French side on Tuesday night. The decision was announced by the 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 from the Pas-de-Calais department, any person identified as a Sevilla supporter or behaving as such will be forbidden from entering Lens’ Bollaert-Delelis stadium or its surroundings from 10 am on Tuesday, December 12, until 3 am on Wednesday, December 13. The department justified this decision by stating that the presence of Sevilla fans posed a serious security risk. They referred to previous incidents, including attempts at contact between Lens and Sevilla fans to organize a fight, clashes between Sevilla and Arsenal fans, and clashes between Sevilla and Roma fans before last season’s Europa League final.
Lens is currently in third place in Group B with five points and still has a chance to progress to the last-16, while Sevilla is at the bottom with two points. Both teams are still in contention for a Europa League spot.
Sevilla has expressed its disappointment with the ban and is actively engaging with the Spanish government to prevent its implementation. Many fans had already booked flights and made travel arrangements, making the situation even more challenging. A major Spanish supporters’ group has also stated that it will dispute the order in court.
Sevilla President Jose Castro described the decision as a “genuine atrocity” and emphasized that the club is doing everything possible to ensure that the fans can attend the match. The club’s liaison officer will be in touch with all affected fans to provide assistance. Castro criticized the lack of prior notice and time for a response, stating that it doesn’t make sense to announce such measures the afternoon before the match.
FASFE, the Federation of Shareholders and Members of Spanish Football, has declared the order a violation of European Union rules. They plan to challenge it in court with the support of their colleagues in the National Association of French Supporters and the FSE (Football Supporters Europe).
Sevilla has also expressed its intention to file a complaint with UEFA regarding the ban, emphasizing that the situation sets a dangerous precedent for supporter travel and limits Europeans’ rights.
The next few hours will be crucial in resolving this issue, as Sevilla continues to work towards finding a solution. The club has also reached out to UEFA and is awaiting further updates.
It remains to be seen whether Sevilla fans will be able to attend the match, but efforts are being made to ensure their presence.