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Nantes fan stabbed to death before Ligue 1 game

December 04, 2023

NANTES, France: A fan of Ligue 1 club Nantes has died after being stabbed before the club´s 1-0 win over Nice, the public prosecutor in the western French city confirmed on Sunday.

The fatality occurred when several vehicles transporting Nice supporters were attacked by rival Nantes fans while on their way to the Beaujoire stadium before Saturday´s game. “During these events, in circumstances which remain to be determined, a 31-year-old man, a supporter of FC Nantes, collapsed (and) died on the spot, despite the rapid intervention of emergency services,” Nantes public prosecutor Renaud Gaudeul said.

Forensic police work at the scene of a stabbing in Paris on December 2, 2023. — AFP
Forensic police work at the scene of a stabbing in Paris on December 2, 2023. — AFP

The deceased received “a wound in the back, which could correspond to a bladed weapon”, the prosecutor explained, adding that an investigation for “voluntary manslaughter” had been opened. A source close to the case told AFP the victim, a member of Nantes supporters group Brigade Loire, had been stabbed by one of the vehicle drivers.

Gaudeul confirmed a 35-year-old driver had been taken into custody on Sunday after turning himself in at a police station in the early hours of the morning. FC Nantes said they were “saddened” by the death, sending their condolences to the victim´s family.

“Numerous witness interviews are underway and will continue into the night,” the club said in a statement. “The club can only deplore that a person lost their life in such circumstances.” French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera sent her condolences in a post on social media, saying the investigation must “identify the exact circumstances of the events”.

The death comes against a backdrop of tensions and recent incidents on the sidelines of Ligue 1 matches. Two Brest supporters were injured a week ago when their bus was targeted by projectiles after the club´s 3-1 victory in Montpellier. At the end of October, Lyon´s team bus was stoned on its approach to Marseille´s Velodrome stadium and coach Fabio Grosso was left with cuts to the face that required stitches.