French fans make some Belgian mayors nervous, Source: Depositphotos

Border towns shutting down for car traffic tonight during France-Belgium football game

Border towns shutting down for car traffic tonight during France-Belgium football game

And the reason is that some Belgian mayors fear ruckus due to French chauvinism

Tonight, the national football teams of France and Belgium will face off during the first round of the direct elimination phase of the 2024 Euro Cup. There will be plenty of emotions from fans in both neighbouring countries supporting their team. However, in several Belgian border communities, the game tonight is also a cause of concern and anxiety regarding the security situation, so they have decided to restrict the free flow across the borders by closing bridges to car traffic and banning mass gatherings in public spaces.

These communities are located in the so-called Lys (Leie) Valley stretching from Comines to Armentières along the border. The mayors of these towns decided to implement the unusual measure which will apply from 4 pm and throughout the night, depending on the security context following the football game.

“The municipal authorities on both sides of the Leie River hope that the spirit and outcome of the match will be marked by the values of respect, fair play and conviviality,” said the mayor of Comines-Warneton (Belgium), quoted by Belga News Agency.

Pedestrians and cyclists can still cross

The trepidation felt by the small-town Belgian communities is not unfounded. The mayors cited the previous experience of the two teams playing at the 2018 World Cup semifinal, which resulted not only in a French win but also in French fans rushing into the border towns honking their cars, dancing on the streets and taunting the local residents.

“The French are much more chauvinistic than we are. We know from experience that after a French victory, they like to provoke ‘les petits Belges’ again and tease them with their cars,” said Youro Casier, mayor of Wervik, quoted by Politico.

The match kicks off at 6 pm (CET) in Düsseldorf. It is the 76th meeting between Belgium and France, with a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 at stake. Both teams won only one of their games in the group stages of the competition, finishing second in their pools.



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