With French fans starved of football since the suspension of Ligue 1 due to the coronavirus health crisis in March, a local match between Neuhof and Hautepierre attracted an audience of around 400 supporters despite lockdown rules in the country limiting gatherings to no more than ten people – with some describing the match as being “illegal“.
Footage shot from the sidelines shows legions of supporters rushing the pitch, even after local police had attempted to disperse the gathering.
The match took place in Strasbourg which remains inside France’s coronavirus “red zone”, as other regions in the country begin to loosen restrictions and according to reports from the region, local officials are understood to be “furious” at the incident.
“What took place this weekend is irresponsible and serious beyond measure. It is up to us as elected officials to firmly condemn and to act,” Serge Oehler, the official in charge of sports in the region, wrote on social media.
“If after viewing it turns out that club supervisors participated in this, there will obviously be a proportionate response.
“A few days earlier, having noted the closure of the parks and gardens, I had alerted them to their necessary reopening, but that cannot excuse this endangerment of the lives of others. Foolishness and irresponsibility can lead to a disastrous health situation in our territory.
“I ask the people of Strasbourg to show responsibility. COVID-19 is not a point of view, it is a poison, let’s not add stupidity to this death that strikes blindly.”
Adding to the chorus of disapproval, French virologist Professor Gilbert Deray said that the scenes could cause a “virus bomb” in the region and lead to a spate of new infections.
More than 145,000 people have been confirmed as carriers of the virus in France, along with more than 28,000 deaths as of Monday.