UEFA need to be tough with PSG
The new regime at UEFA have their reputation on the line in deciding how to sanction PSG for the pyrotechnics used at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday night. Are we witnessing a swell in radical ultra groups, elements of which we saw at close hand in 2016 at the Euros as we head towards a World Cup in Russia? What we saw on Tuesday I believe is a step in the wrong direction. The Parisian outfit present themselves as being avant-garde and aim to evoke the glamour that is often associated with the French capital coupled with a new country in Qatar, who have been awarded the 2022 World Cup. The 'turning of a blind-eye' by club officials to the the pyro display points back to dark days that we experienced with football in the 80s and 90s.
According to French daily Le Figaro, certain members of the French government feel that the Ligue 1 club have let the ultras wield too much influence withing the club. This could be interpreted by the PSG's efforts to create an intimidating atmosphere ahead of the Champions League last 16 return leg against Real Madrid. The club shared a video of the players and ultras together with the footage adorned with images of pyrotechnic displays. Sometimes one or two individuals can smuggle flares into a high profile game but such a quantity as was witnessed on Tuesday suggests a lapsus in security protocol with the game even stopped on a number of occasions due to poor visibility from the smoke.
The game was watched in person by the Emir of Qatar, who must have been puzzled from what he witnessed. His state is making a serious financial investment in presenting the image of the Parisian outfit to a global audience, as they plan to do when hosting the 2022 World Cup. An elimination for the Ligue 1 side at the last 16 stage of the Champions League was certainly not contemplated in the clubs planning, less so the image of a section of the ground engulfed in blazing flares with the smoke making the action on the pitch impossible see on occasion. For the good of Qatar, for Paris and the world of football, PSG need to be told that the scenes on Tuesday are unacceptable and the only way to do this is through actions and not ridiculous token fines.
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