Authorities have ordered for the Populaire Sud stand of OGC Nice’s Allianz Riviera stadium to be closed after the clash that took place between fans and players during their last meeting with Marseille.
The Alpes-Maritimes department announced that the stand will be closed for four matches, and that they have also arrested a 28-year-old man after the ugly scenes on and off the pitch resulted in the Ligue 1 match to be abandoned.
Marseille’s Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle while going to take a corner, and he then threw it back towards the crowd, leading to fans storming the pitch.
A brawl ensued, with players and several members of staff from both teams trying to fight back or else protect themselves from the Nice ultras.
The players then made their way off the pitch, and after some time, Nice’s players returned, while Marseille’s refused to do so, leading to the match being abandoned.
The game was then abandoned, with several Marseille players posting images of strangle marks and bruises that they sustained during the brawl.
Bernard Gonzalzez, prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes department, stated that he “has taken the following decisions this evening: closure of the Populaire Sud stand, where the incidents occurred, for the next four home matches”.
The French league’s governing body, Ligue de Football Professionnel, stated that after the “serious incidents” that took place, both clubs have been called to its disciplinary commission.
French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu claimed that the incident is “an insult for sport and football”.
Marseille club president Pablo Longoria stated that some of the club’s players “were attacked” and that they “decided for the safety of our players, who were attacked during the pitch invasion, not to resume the match because the safety of our players was not guaranteed”.
Marseille players were targeted by plastic water bottles from the crowd for large portions of the match, and it was inevitable that one was going to hit a player, and that ended up being Payet, sparking the melee.
The match was attended by a crowd of around 32,000, with spectators being allowed back in stadiums in France after a significant part of the 2020/21 season was played behind closed doors as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
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