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Volume 10 No. 22

International Football

Celebrations to mark Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain's first French league title in 19 years "were cut short" Monday after fans "fought with riot police, leaving 30 people injured, including three police officers," according to Clare Murphy of FRANCE24. Following the clashes, "which have dealt a serious blow to PSG’s bid to restore its image following years of fan violence," Paris Police Commissioner Bernard Boucault said that PSG "would never again be allowed to hold a public celebration in the French capital." Boucault said that a total of 800 officers were deployed to contain the supporters, but "it took them several hours to bring the situation under control." Boucault said, "The conclusion you can draw is that there won’t be more any more events like this in a public place for Paris St. Germain." Tens of thousands of fans had gathered at the Place du Trocadero by the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Monday evening to see PSG players and coach Carlo Ancelotti. However, there was "not even time for a speech" from Ancelotti or captain Thiago Silva, who held the trophy aloft with defensive partner Mamadou Sakho. After only a few minutes, "the players were led away by security officials" (FRANCE24, 5/14).

'MOB VIOLENCE': REUTERS' Julien Pretot reported "some of those involved wore PSG shirts and climbed on to temporary scaffolding" as the club's players were showing off the French champions' trophy. As the players were forced to leave the Place du Trocadero, the ceremony's public announcer said, "The scaffolding is going to collapse. We can't welcome the players in these conditions." Riot police "fired tear gas to try to disperse the crowd" after up to what police estimated was 15,000 people had gathered to celebrate PSG's first league title since '94. Bus shelters "were destroyed during the episode with some of the people involved covering their faces" (REUTERS, 5/13). In London, Peter Allen reported "shops were looted, cars burnt out, and passers-by threatened by hooded youths during confrontations between hooligans and CRS riot police, who used tear gas and baton charges against the thugs." A photographer at the scene said, "There are gangs of hooligans everywhere, targeting whatever they can. This isn’t about football -- it’s about mob violence. The Champs Elysee is a battlefield" (DAILY MAIL, 5/13).

After years of increasing attendance numbers, the Bundesliga's positive trend "has come to halt during the current season," according to the DPA. With one remaining match weekend, "the Bundesliga's average attendance has been 42,421 per game." During the previous season, the league "set a new attendance record, averaging 45,116 fans per game." The main reason for the decrease "is Greuther Fürth's limited stadium capacity." The club, which will be relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga after the season, "averaged a Bundesliga low 16,842 fans per game." During the '11-12 season, SC Freiburg "had the lowest average attendance with 22,672." So far, a total of 12,599,146 people "have attended the games of the '12-13 Bundesliga season" (DPA, 5/13).

First, there was the vuvuzela, "South Africa's much-criticised World Cup trumpet whose dull blare annoyed millions of football fans," according to James Hider of the LONDON TIMES. Brazil's official musical instrument for the World Cup has run into problems, "being banned by police at a match on Sunday" and with FIFA reconsidering whether or not to endorse the caxirola. On their first outing, "the referee had to stop the game to allow players to clear away hundreds of the rattles that had been thrown on to the pitch." On Sunday, "police in northeastern Bahia state decided to ban fans from bringing caxirolas into the stadium for a match, prompting doubts about its future." FIFA said that "it is now reconsidering whether the instrument should even be allowed into games during the Confederations Cup," which starts next month and is the unofficial trial run for the 2014 World Cup (LONDON TIMES, 5/13).

South American football governing body CONMEBOL's Court of Appeals has rejected the request of Brasileiro club Grêmio coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo to reduce the six-game suspension and fine he received for his role in a brawl after a Copa Libertadores match between his team and Chile's Huachipato. In addition to the suspension, Luxemburgo also appealed the $25,000 fine he received, which was also upheld (EMOL, 5/14). ... FIFA confirmed the worldwide extension of sanctions imposed on eight players by the Estonian FA and one player by the Lebanese FA relating to match-fixing manipulation and fraud investigations. The eight Estonian players each received a one-year ban from all football-related activities while the Lebanese player was banned from all football-related activities for life (FIFA). ... Three-quarters of European football fans interviewed in a new survey "want the option to stand while watching games." The online company Int'l Hattrick questioned more than 1,200 supporters from all over Europe with a vast majority saying that standing areas "should be permitted" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/14).