Sports minister Kate Hoey has demanded France introduces sanctions against fans at matches after violent protests during the French league play-off second leg between Sochaux and Lille.
Hoey revealed that French police had once more been forced to use water cannon during Wednesday’s game after violent protests and rubbish fires were set after the game at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. A previously planned Pro-football league league game between Lille and Sochaux was called off as an anti-government protest took place.
“It is deplorable that our game can be disrupted through violence and hate,” Hoey said. “No country is perfect but if we can stop violence and hate in any sport, such as football, rugby or horse racing, the greater good is served.
“The police had to use water cannon to control the thugs in recent days. If we get tough, then the thugs will retreat.
“I don’t want to see a repeat of Wednesday’s scenes. It is time for fans to behave properly. The game should come first.”
Police also used batons and tear gas to break up fighting between clubs and supporters after the match.
The violence on French football terraces has continued as rival supporters have clashed during many of the matches.
The French sports minister has also called for a change in fans’ behaviour at matches. She said: “We should not be having such violence in this day and age. One can take it on board from the club and the league. People should show some love.”
A protest march in Lille which was originally planned for Saturday has been postponed after police used tear gas and batons to break up violence between fans. The Stade Pierre-Mauroy became the scene of clashes between Lille and Sochaux fans, which followed France’s three international friendlies earlier this week.