GENEVA, Switzerland — Police helicopters hovering over the city, check. Rowdy Swiss football fans arriving in throngs and willing to party, check. It seems all is ready for another Swiss Football Cup final, this one in Geneva. Prepare to be disrupted.
Sion and Basel football clubs face off at 16:00, today at the Stade de Genève hoping to win the 92nd Swiss cup.
While UN staff in Geneva is at work today, most of the country, is enjoying a holiday (courtesy of the Christian calendar), Ascension Day.
According to police, about 20,000 fans arrived in Geneva for the match, with about 1,000 considered as particularly “rowdy”.
The train station was heavily patrolled by cantonal and transport police; businesses there closed until 14:00 to avoid any vandalism.
According to officials, up to 900 additional police have been deployed to ensure safety around the city.
Rival simultaneous parades
Bâle FC supporters walked 3.8km from the train station to Jonction before reaching the stadium. These fans are loud and love the team considered one of the best in Switzerland.
Basel has played in 20 finals winning 11 of them. They hope to win a 12th title today. They have also won the Swiss Super League Championship, a whooping 20 times.
Sion FC supporters took a 5k detour through old town and Carouge before reaching the stadium.
Sion has “only” played 13 finals in the past 92 years, but has won each of them. They hope to add a 14th title to their palmarés.
Route des Jeunes, St Julien and Avenue Vibert have been closed since this morning; trams and buses are not allowed near the area.
Concrete barriers block vehicles from driving near the fan zone. Cars and transit will be restricted until 22:00.
The final had been traditionally played in the Swiss capital Bern, however, since 2014 the city decided it had had enough of fans vandalizing the town after the game.
It seems just yesterday when the Servette football team was savagely attacked after beating Wil 3-0.
Geneva was last champion in 2001 with Lucien Favre as TD. Favre now manages club OGC Nice. (Time to call him back?)