Interview In “Battle of Marseille”, a documentary available this Thursday on france.tv, Cyril Domanico rewinds the story of the violent clashes between Russians and English during Euro 2016 in Marseille
Russian supporters of EURO 2016 had been expelled from the territory after the clashes in Marseille. But some had managed to return — VALERY HACHE
- On June 11, 2016, in the middle of the Euro football tournament in France, clashes between Russian and English supporters broke out on the Old Port in Marseille. England fan Andrew Bache is seriously injured.
- Two years later, two Russian supporters were arrested in Germany, then tried in Marseille. Cyril Domanico's documentary film Battle of Marseille rewinds this story.
- For 20 Minutes, the director looks back on this film and the links between football and politics it reveals.
A former Russian parliamentary assistant, ex-head of the Russian supporters association, a Scotland Yard agent, a French CRS, and tons of archive images of clashes from social networks or cams. ras video surveillance… In a documentary available at; From this Thursday on the France Télévisions france.tv platform, director Cyril Domanico rewinds the story of June 11, 2016, the day of the Euro match organized by in France opposing to Marseille Russia to; England. From the meeting, the memories do not retain the score (1-1) but the violent clashes between supporters led by Russian hooligans on the Old Port. During this sequence, Andrew Bache, an English supporter remains behind. earth. In cardiac arrest at the time of the rescue intervention, the supporter from Portsmouth is plunged for a month in a coma from which he woke up with serious sequelae.
Two years later, two identified Russian supporters were arrested in Germany as they traveled to support their club Spartak Moscow for a European Cup match. The Assize Court of Aix-en-Provence condemns them to three and ten years in prison in December 2020. As the World Cup in Qatar approaches, 20 Minutes looks back on this not so different fact, violence in football and the links between sport and politics with an interview with the director of this film.
What were you doing on June 11, 2016?
I remember it very well. It’s been my day off and At the time I followed the French team for Canal+. And I discovered the story on social networks, in particular via friends that I follow who are from Marseille, the city from which I live. I come. So I got the raw footage first, before the media interpretation. And that’s probably why I wanted to take a step back from what I was doing. this event with this film.
When did you decide to to make a movie out of it?
About a year ago. After leaving Canal+, I wanted to continue to; tell stories that take sport as a starting point but that tell something else, especially at the level of the political scope of sport, knowing that we are in a context where we are we talk a lot about ça compared to ça; the World Cup in Qatar. And this documentary already tells; strained relations between the Russian state and the Western camp and unfortunately it takes on even more meaning today with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On this subject of sport-politics relations, there is in particular the interview of Alexander Chpryguine, with at the time refer to the Russian supporters and reputed; close to Vladimir Putin…
Yes, which struck me. in making this film it’s how the ambivalence of authority and Russian patriotism is already expressed at in this event. It was not Vladimir Putin’s government that paid for it. people for clashes. But the fact that the Russian authorities are not helping to the identification of the perpetrators of the violence contributes to; encourage these practices which in the end are the symbol of what Russian politics like to do: bomb torso and proclaim pride. of their patriotism.
What we see in the images where Putin says “ I don't understand how 200 Russians could beat 1,000 English”””
We have a dose of irony, a very timid condemnation and a lot of patriotism which echoes the words of Alexander Chprygin in this documentary: “We are genetically superior.” ; It’s something that has been ingrained in the Russian political DNA for the past 50 years and is expressed on that day.
What a rô plays the city of Marseille, where you are from, in this film?
Marseille is the symbol in France of a city and a warm public. And so it’s also a city that attracts violent supporters, because the city is a symbol of supporterism and ultra groups. We saw it with Frankfurt. So when there are trips, European matches, it’s a city that is constantly in tension and in this danger of violent overflow. And it’s also why I wanted to tell this documentary. It’s no coincidence that this happens to Marseilles. Marseille is a football destination. In hooliganism, there is a will demonstration. The Russians attack the English, because they are traditionally the symbol of hooliganism. So on June 11, the Russians are pulling a double punch.
The authorities have been fighting violence in football since the 1990s. Why are such overflows still possible?
That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to make this film. In France, we have a policy of repression which does not work with violent supporters. What works is anticipating their coming and doing more intelligence work to prevent them from doing what happened. to Marseille, to regroup and get organized. In this film, we see what happens when we do not anticipate. One can wonder in France about our public policy around major demonstrations and violent supporters.
The World Cup is about to start in Qatar. Russians are not there, can such violence happen there?
On the one hand, the repressive policy in Qatar does not seem to encourage the movement of supporters en masse. There is also a significant economic cost to going there which will prevent them from moving. On the other hand, football, with its power of transcendence and the masses it moves, makes the sporting event always a bit dangerous. Whatever the type of danger. Çmay have had an accident. I don't know what is put in place on the ground, but there is always a risk. And we can also talk about the 2024 Olympic Games in France. We can’t predict what will happen. In any case, what happened to Marseille is specific and is the result of a local and international political context, so we do not find çthat.
How do you view the World Cup in Qatar ?
I find ça sad. Sad for football, which even though it has taken on a huge mercantile aspect, must be able to remain popular and accessible, which is not the case. We are in a country that creates an even more superficial event than it already is. today’s football, so it’s sad. And in addition, it reveals the shortcomings of the authorities and our governments since we know that this World Cup has already taken place. engendered human dramas with many deaths. You can't be happy about this World Cup if you are a lover of this sport.