PSG-Haïfa, a match under high security

A reinforced security system “800 police and gendarmes” is scheduled for Tuesday, October 25 by the Paris police headquarters for the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Israeli Maccabi Haifa, at the Parc des Princes.

In a note from the Paris police headquarters, revealed by AFP, the security services explain that “this meeting presents a high risk of disturbing public order” for several reasons.

Present in large numbers, the supporters of the Collectif Ultras Paris (CUP), could take advantage of the event to demonstrate “their support for the Palestinian cause”, so say the authorities. On August 13, during a league match between PSG and the Montpellier team, the CUP unfurled the Palestinian flag and a banner “We hang out in strips like in Gaza” in support of Palestine.

An exceptional device

The Paris police headquarters also believes that “ultra-Zionist activists, including some close to the former Jewish Defense League” could be there for “protect Israeli supporters”, based on information from the Israeli Embassy. In its note, the prefecture also mentions the fact that“about 2,000 Maccabi Haifa supporters from outside Israel” would be “likely to have bought seats in the general public stands”.

The isolation of the latter, in the midst of Parisian supporters, “could create security risks, for themselves or those around them if they do not respect neutral behavior”, explains the press release.

In this context, it was planned to mobilize “1,400 stewards”to constitute “a security reserve of 350 seats in the visitors’ stand to be able to relocate Maccabi Haifa supporters isolated in the general public stands”, details the prefecture. And to explain that the gauge of the visitors’ stand has been reduced to “1,650 places for Maccabi supporters against 2,000” usually. According to UEFA regulations, each club that qualifies for the Champions League is required to reserve at least 5% of the capacity of its stadium exclusively for the use of supporters of the visiting club.

A liability between Israel and PSG

On the occasion of the first confrontation between the two clubs, on Wednesday September 14, in Haifa, a similar device was deployed. A thousand stewards had thus operated within the confines of the Sammy-Ofer stadium. The case of one player in particular had attracted particular attention from the authorities: Achraf Hakimi. The Moroccan side of PSG had posted a tweet in May 2021, with the hashtag #FreePalestine, at a time of renewed tension in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The latter had angered many pro-Israel netizens. Entering late in the game, the Moroccan international had suffered many whistles.

For the geopolitical analyst and founder of the FC Geopolitics site, Kévin Veyssière, an event of this type is “rather outstanding”.“The Haifa club is not reputed to be the most sulphuroushe continues. The city of Haifa is also famous for hosting a large Muslim community. This is not the case, for example, for the Beitar Jerusalem club, of which many far-right activists claim to be supporters. »

More than overflows, “we can fear certain claiming banners, at most”concludes the analyst who believes that the supervision and security conditions envisaged by the police headquarters will be up to the task.

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