Easily recognizable by their black and white scarves in the tourist arteries of Lyon, the supporters of Juventus on Wednesday deplore the psychosis and the mini-controversy born in France from their trip to the Champions League meeting against Lyon, in the midst of the coronaviruses.
“It’s a bit of psychological terrorism. We are being stepped on, it’s too much, too … too exaggerated”, growls, a few hours before the match, bundled up in his anorak, Patrizia Petracca, 43, a supporter from the province of Bologna.
“Here we are in good health, quiet,” says this employee of a manufacturer of coffee machines, even if the epidemic due to the new coronavirus has already killed 12 people in Italy and worries some of the Lyon officials.
On Tuesday, the mayors of Meyzieu and Decines-Charpieu, where the Olympique Lyonnais stadium which is to host the match is located, called for the ban on the arrival of nearly 3,000 Italian supporters “in the name of the precautionary principle but also prevention of any disturbance to public order “.
The councilors received the support of three LREM deputies from the Rhone and several members of the political opposition. Marine Le Pen judges the arrival of supporters of Juventus “not reasonable” while Segolene Royal considers it “inconsistent”.
Coming in particular from Bologna, Parma, Perugia and of course from Piedmont, the “Tifosi bianconeri” crossed in Lyon admit that they do not understand these positions and certain amalgams, especially since only three cases of new coronavirus – and no deaths – have been confirmed to date in Piedmont, the province of Turin.
The Bolognese Patrizia Petracca wants to remind that Italy “has made many checks”. For her, “treating us as if we had the plague is not beautiful”.
“It’s only a psychosis. In my city of Perugia there is no problem,” says Marco Cerrini, a 55-year-old salesman who arrived by bus in the morning and met on the emblematic Place Bellecour.
– Anecdotal –
Despite this beginning of the controversy, most fans of “Juve” welcome the good reception of Lyonnais and display their relief to be there. “”We are glad that you let us enter France””, smiles, a bit provocative, the Turin lawyer Gabriele Gavatorta, 40 years old.
Faced with criticism, the French government is trying to appease the spirits. “There is no reason to prevent them” from going to the Rhone, said Minister of Health Olivier Veran in the early afternoon, about fans of Juve.
Bruno Lina, a researcher at the International Center for Infectious Disease Research (Ciri) in Lyon, assured the regional daily Le Progres on Wednesday that “there is no risk going to see the match”.
We must stop thinking that “all Italians arrive in France with the coronavirus,” he insisted, believing that the Italian authorities had “done the right thing” to contain the epidemic. The mayor of Lyon Gerard Collomb for his part announced that he would be at the stadium … without wearing a mask.
Adrian Karwatewk, 28, is also a supporter of the “old lady”, but comes from Warsaw, Poland. In his eyes, no reason to be afraid.
“Everyone comes to Lyon. No suspension for us! (The rest) is media speculation around the virus. There is no problem”, slice this strong guy dressed in a simple jacket tracksuit despite the freezing wind sweeping the city center.
As for the supporters’ clubs of Olympique Lyonnais, few are really concerned, says Thierry Boirivent, vice-president of the Amicale des Rouge et Bleu, who says “refuse to give in to panic”.
“Everyone is talking about it but for us, supporters, it remains anecdotal. The rare concerns only concern people with fragile health who prefer to avoid public transport this evening. It is really on the sidelines compared to the issue of the match, “he said.