After the first leg defeat (3-2), OM will face Feyenoord Rotterdam on Thursday night at the Vélodrome in the second leg of the Europa League Conference, in the presence of at least 3,200 fans of the Dutch club. To ensure that the movement of visitors takes place in the best possible way, the authorities have thought, according to our information, about a particular device.
Marseille are preparing to welcome Feyenoord fans. And they will arrive in numbers, as the Dutch club secured a quota of 3,200 tickets for the return semi-final of the Europa League Conference, this Thursday at the Vélodrome (21:00). UEFA regulations require host clubs to provide opposing supporters with the equivalent of 5% of the stadium’s capacity.
Of these 3,200 fans, about 500 are considered “at risk”, and will therefore be particularly monitored. The Dutch have warned that Feyenoord generally also attracts “ticketless” fans, who might try to get them on the black market but are still used to going to a match venue, their team. The authorities have therefore put in place a special system to ensure that this journey is as safe as possible.
A fan zone with DJs, drinks … and lifeguards
According to our information, a “fan zone” for the faithful of Feyenoord will be installed on the Prado beaches (at the height of the statue of David). The authorities wanted to encourage the Dutch fans to gather there as much as possible and therefore favored an attractive location, with the proximity of the sea here.The Rotterdam club had indicated in some meetings that its fans had identified the ideal place … Porto Old, to find yourself in a cozy place close to bars and restaurants. But the place was logically not recommended to them to avoid tensions in the heart of Marseille.
This “meeting point” on the Prado beaches will be embellished with entertainment to entice fans to stay there as long as possible: DJs, food trucks, drinks, toilets and even … lifeguards, in case some fans are a bit ‘ too much alcoholic would risk at the water’s edge and under the sun. Access to this fan zone will be free. A match ticket is not required to enter.
No Dutch procession at the stadium
As for access to the Velodrome, the ultras of Feyenoord are used to playing a fan walk, that is to say, walking and singing to the stadium, as the Marseille fans did on the first leg to Rotterdam with a very cautious procession. This option was not recommended to them, to avoid friction or even clashes on the way, especially at the Prado roundabout, where many terraces will already be full of Marseille fans.
A bus and shuttle system will then be organized, this time with the mandatory presentation of the match ticket to board. The trip will be under police escort. Those without a ticket will not be able to see the game in the fan zone as there is no giant screen there.
Inside the Vélodrome, a sanitary cordon will separate the Dutch car park from the Jean-Bouin stand. The reputation of Feyenoord fans forced UEFA and OM to cancel the arrival of 6,500 children in the north corner, for their safety. The corner will therefore remain closed and behind closed doors, a sanction adopted by UEFA following the incidents that occurred at OM-PAOK Thessaloniki in the previous round.
Instructions given to visitors
Several meetings have taken place in recent days, in the presence of authorities, clubs, representatives of the city or the Dutch police, specialists in hooliganism, etc. After the unfortunate experience of the match against the Greeks, the local authorities have again formulated some recommendations, this time to the Dutch fans: do not arrive too early in Marseille, do not stay in the city center but elsewhere in Provence, favor transfers in small groups. Early supporters may arrive as early as Tuesday or Wednesday, as some are also there to visit the city. Those deemed to be the hottest would most likely land in Marseille on match day.
The police headquarters of the Bouches du Rhône, which worked hard to welcome Feyenoord fans, did not want to ban the movement of Dutch fans. For several reasons: the first leg went well in Holland, with a consolidated organization there too. Prefect Frédérique Camilleri often reminds his interlocutors that the right to freedom of movement must prevail first of all, and that a ban must be based on a story or on a greater risk of not being able to guarantee everyone’s safety.
The local authorities are also aware of the fact that OM will play the European Cup on a regular basis and that more supporters’ trips will have to be organized each season. The Olympic club, which also wants its faithful to travel abroad, understands this logic of give and take and this need to welcome opposing fans with the utmost vigilance. This type of organization obviously requires a greater deployment of police and human resources than any other event, demonstration … or presidential trip!