In 2018, Football Supporters Europe (FSE), Association Nationale des Supporters (ANS), and Eintracht Frankfurt filed a joint motion with the Marseille Administrative Court, challenging the legality of an administrative order banning Eintracht fans from travelling to Marseille.
Today, we are pleased to report that the Court of Appeal has annulled the order.
20th September, 2018, was supposed to be a joyous occasion for the Eintracht faithful. After a five-year absence from European competitions, the club was scheduled to play away at Olympique de Marseille in the UEFA Europe League. Unfortunately, due to an outstanding disciplinary case, UEFA had ordered Marseilles to play the game behind closed doors—an unjust decision that punished tens of thousands for the behaviour of a few. Still, many Eintracht fans had made plans to follow their team to the South of France. But on 14th September, just six days before the game, the Préfecture de Police des Bouches-du-Rhône issued an administrative order banning them from entering the city limits.
There was no justification for such an order, which represented a patent infringement of EU citizens’ basic human rights, including freedom of movement and assembly.
In its assessment of our case, the Court of Appeal agreed:
“The evidence put forward by the Prefect of Police and the Minister of the Interior is not sufficient to establish that the presence of Eintracht Frankfurt supporters was likely to cause serious disturbance to public order.
The contested order is dated 14th September, 2018, whereas the sporting event of 20th September, 2018, had been scheduled well in advance. Contrary to what the Minister of the Interior maintains, this circumstance should be taken into account when assessing the proportionality of the measure issued, since its proximity to the date of the match makes it likely to target people who have made arrangements for travel abroad. It thus represents a more serious infringement of protected freedoms, as well as of the conditions for exercising the right to appeal.
The 14th September, 2018, administrative order issued by the Bouches-du-Rhône police prefect is neither necessary nor proportionate. It is therefore illegal and must be annulled.”
This landmark victory sets a clear precedent regarding the necessity, proportionality, and legality of similar administrative orders. Moreover, it demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of common purpose and action between football clubs and fans’ organisations.