French soccer match turns deadly: police come to aid of Israeli supporter
PARIS, France (Reuters) -- A policeman shot dead a Paris St Germain fan and seriously injured another late on Thursday following the French team's defeat by Hapoel Tel Aviv in the UEFA Cup, police officials said.
Early indications suggested the plainclothes policeman came to the rescue of a French supporter of the Israeli team who was attacked by PSG fans outside the stadium in southwestern Paris.
A group of up to 150 fans then turned on the policeman.
At first he let off a tear gas canister to try to disperse his assailants, then fired his gun, killing one man immediately and injuring another.
"This is the darkest period in the history of the club," said PSG chairman Alain Cayzac. "It is a period I am not proud of."
Police said the PSG fans appeared to be far-right sympathisers and were chanting "France for the French" as they confronted the Hapoel supporter. The lone policeman was black.
"I am shattered by what happened after the game at Parc des Princes," said French Professional Football League (LFP) president Frederic Thiriez, who was to meet French Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy later on Friday.
"We must get to the bottom of this and football, together with the authorities, must find ways to ensure this never happens again," Thiriez said in a statement.
The Paris prosecutor's office, which has opened a formal investigation into the killing, said on Friday it was not yet possible to reconstruct exactly what had happened as witness accounts varied.
But it said initial indications suggested that the policeman had acted in legitimate defense after he was attacked, either on his own or while trying to protect a Tel Aviv supporter.
A journalist from weekly news magazine L'Express who said he witnessed the incident, said he saw a young black man in plain clothes apparently trying to protect someone from a menacing crowd before taking refuge in a nearby fast food restaurant.
In an account published on the L'Express Web site, the journalist, Philippe Broussard, said the crowd, which was shouting racist taunts and nationalist slogans such as "Red, White and Blue, France for the French!" was apparently initially unaware he was a policeman.
Broussard said he did not actually see the shooting.
The explosion of violence came after PSG suffered a shock 4-2 loss to their Tel Aviv opponents.
PSG has struggled for years to control a handful of hooligans, some of them far-right sympathisers.
France recently passed a law to tackle violent soccer fans and Sarkozy said additional measures would be introduced to the national assembly as soon as possible.