A French league match between Lyon and Marseille was scrapped after Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet was hit in the head by a water bottle thrown from the stands as he took a corner kick in the latest violence in supporters against French football. Payet collapsed to the ground in the fifth minute of the game in Lyon, 0-0, but was able to get up after receiving medical treatment. The referee ordered the players to return to the locker room with the suspension of play. After waiting around 75 minutes, an announcement in the stadium announced that play would resume but warned that “the match will be suspended if there is has another incident “. The Lyon players returned to the field after the announcement but the Marseille players remained in their locker room, reluctant to resume play, Payet saying he was shocked by the incident. Lyon warmed up for ten minutes before returning to the locker room. About two hours after kick-off, it was announced that the game had been discontinued. “My sporting decision has always been not to resume the game,” referee Ruddy Buquet told Amazon Prime Video. “A player has been physically injured. We have to protect the football players. We are responsible for their safety, which is why the final decision was made.” Buquet went on to explain why it took so long to abandon the game.
“There are so many factors to take into account. There is a packed stadium, there are players to be evacuated,” said Buquet. “These are important factors in terms of safety.” Payet was taunted by Lyon supporters during the warm-up and was the target of discriminatory slurs, according to French league officials. “He is psychologically injured,” Marseille President Pablo Longoria said of Payet.
“What is happening is not normal. We have always condemned any kind of violence.” The supporter who threw the bottle was reportedly found and ejected from the stadium. “The culprit was arrested. There was no risk that things would become aggressive again,” said Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas. “I think we are well organized here in terms of security … We think the game could have resumed without a problem.” Aulas criticized Marseille for not having resumed the match. “There was such a violent reaction (from Marseille) that Mr. Buquet asked to review the perfect (regional) and reconsider his decision,” said Aulas.
Aulas was conciliatory towards Payet.
“We send him our apologies. It makes us sad,” Aulas said on the club’s website. The French league blamed the host club and local authorities, saying the league had done its best to deter violence with penalties such as point deductions and games played behind closed doors. “These new serious incidents are a reminder that safety during matches is the responsibility of the host club and the local authorities, who have the final say on the resumption or abandonment of a match,” French league officials said. in a press release. “In such circumstances, the French championship regrets the decision to (attempt to) resume the Lyon-Marseille match by the regional prefect.” The statement added that “repeated serious incidents destroy the image of the French league in France and abroad. After these new extremely serious events, the disciplinary commission of the French league will meet tomorrow for an urgent meeting”. This is not the first time this season that a French league match has been marred by fan violence. And Marseille has already been the target of violence from supporters. A match between Nice and Marseille in August was abandoned after supporters threw projectiles and invaded the pitch. Payet was also hit by a bottle in this game and sent it back to the fans. Players and staff were also involved in a brawl. Nice received a two-point penalty, one of which was suspended, and the game was rescheduled and replayed in October in a neutral location with no fans. Montpellier supporters threw projectiles at Marseille players in August when the game was suspended for more than 10 minutes. Valentin Rongier had his lip cut off by a projectile. In September, supporters invaded Anger’s pitch as Marseille and Angers supporters clashed. Other clubs have also been hit by crowd issues. In September, supporters invaded the lawn of Lens in the northern derby between Lens and Lille. Fights broke out in the stands between Lensiens and Lille supporters. In September, a teenager was injured by a projected seat during a match between PSG and Lyon. In October, a game between Saint-Etienne and Angers was delayed by around an hour due to a pitch invasion and flares launched into the pitch before kick-off. “After such a night, I think what one can ask, given the situation, is that French football is seriously considering stopping this type of incident,” said Longoria.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)