Lyon facilities searched as flares investigation continues

Lyon allowed their fans to let off flares under supervision in December, but the French authorities are still investigating.
AFP

Lyon (AFP) – Lyon of French Ligue 1 said on Thursday that their premises had been searched as part of a long-running investigation into the use of flares at a match, notably by club president Jean-Michel Aulas.

The investigation relates to the way the team’s supporters group celebrated their anniversary when Lyon hosted Marseille on December 17. 

The club reiterated on Thursday in a statement that “flares were set off before, at half time and after the final whistle on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the North Stand Kop.”

A preliminary inquiry into the “introduction and use of rockets or fireworks in a sports venue” was opened a few days after the match.

Lyon fans argue that flares are part of their “identity” and the club accepted that members could use them under supervision. Aulas and coach Bruno Genesio set off flares with the fans.

“We are in a private stadium,” Aulas said in January. “I’m in my home.”

“I am used to making informed decisions and assuming my responsibilities. I warned the League of what could happen,” Aulas continued. “For me it was a success.”

In January, the French league ordered the north stand closed for one match.

The criminal charges carry a possible penalty of three years in prison and a 15,000-euro fine.

The club promised their “assistance with the investigation.”

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