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Fans at illegal Strasbourg football match urged to get tested for Covid-19

Spectators at an illegal football match in Strasbourg on Sunday have been urged to get tested for coronavirus.
Spectators at an illegal football match in Strasbourg on Sunday have been urged to get tested for coronavirus. © screenshot/facebook
3 min

Health and police chiefs in Strasbourg have appealed for hundreds of spectators at an illegally organised football match to report for tests to see if they have been infected with coronavirus. 

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“We must at all costs avoid a new cluster in Strasbourg and protect the people who were at the match as well as their relatives,” said Josiane Chevalier, the prefect of Bas-Rhin.

“Our number one priority is health. It isn’t a trick to capture those who went to the game.”

After it was advertised on social media, around 400 people attended the match on Sunday at the Paco-Matéo stadium between teams from the Neuhof and Hautepierre district.

But the game flouted rules aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus in one of the worst affected regions in France. It was eventually broken up by police. No arrests were made.

Anonymous tests

On Tuesday, health bosses said spectators could go for anonymous tests at the European parliament building in Strasbourg.

“It is crucial that the people who were at the match understand that their behaviour in the next few days could save lives,” said Adeline Jenner, of regional health authority. “The test won’t be used against them,” she added.

Police said on Tuesday they were hunting the organisers of the match who face up to six months in jail and a 7,500 euro fine for defying lockdown laws. 

“It wasn’t a chance meeting of many people who were out taking a stroll,” said Yolande Renzi, Strasbourg’s chief prosecutor. “The gates had to be opened to let people in.”

Anger

Gilbert Deray, a virologist at la Pitié-Salpetrière hospital in Paris, tweeted the match could unleash a virus bomb.

"Around 400 people at a match ... it does not make sense," added Deray.

Politicians from across the spectrum have condemned the organisers of the game.

Serge Oehler, who is in charge of sports in Strasbourg, said on social media: "What took place is irresponsible and extremely serious. Foolishness and irresponsibility can lead to a disastrous health situation on our territory."

Roland Ries, the mayor of Strasbourg, added: "If stunts like Sunday night happen again, everything that we’ve tried to build over two months of confinement could come crashing down.”

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