Lyon vs Marseille game called off after a bottle hit Payet; arrest made public as LFP condemns more French violence | 123Live MY
Lyon vs. Marseille game called off after Payet was hit with a bottle; arrest revealed as LFP condemns more French violence
Lyon's Ligue 1 home match against Marseille was called off after Dimitri Payet was struck by a bottle thrown by a spectator, adding to the French game's embarrassment.
Payet, a former West Ham player, was about to take a corner in a hostile environment when he was hit on the side of the head by a plastic bottle full of liquid.
He slumped quickly and needed medical treatment, forcing referee Ruddy Buquet to pull the players off the field. Payet walked off the field with an ice pack on the side of his head.
Later, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas announced that a spectator had been arrested in connection with the bottle-throwing and apologised to Payet.
The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) announced a meeting of its disciplinary chiefs on Monday, describing the recent spate of violent incidents in Ligue 1 as acts that are "destroying the image of the championship in France and internationally."
Lyon could be docked points as a result of the incident, similar to how Nice has docked two points, one of which was suspended, after crowd trouble in a game against Marseille earlier this season.
The LFP stated that it "strongly condemns the violent aggression" that Payet was subjected to. "Dimitri Payet was also the target of discriminatory insults," according to the LFP.
"Despite the firmness of the LFP disciplinary commission's decisions since the start of the season [points withheld, closed-door match, stand closure] and the work done with government authorities to more effectively punish violent individuals in stadiums, these new serious incidents serve as a reminder that the safety of the matches is the responsibility of the fans," it said.
The bizarre sideshow to the serious business of the assault on Payet was that the LFP and local authorities had opposing viewpoints on what happened after the players were hauled off the field.
The LFP claimed that the local Rhone prefecture had decided to restart the game, but those officials reacted angrily, claiming that no such decision had been made, and emphasising that Buquet had decided to restart the game before changing his mind.
Fans remained inside the Groupama Stadium long after the incident occurred, hoping for a resumption that never came, despite the fact that it appeared to be when the players returned to the pitch to warm up.
According to Rhone local government officials, a "crisis meeting" was held, attended by their representatives and others, including match officials and presidents of both clubs, at which referee Buquet decided the match should resume.
The Rhone officials responded by labelling the LFP claim "FALSE," adding, "The referee then invites the authorities and club presidents to his dressing room to say that he has changed his mind and that the match is being stopped."
This season has seen a number of major crowd trouble incidents in French football, beginning with Marseille midfielder Valentin Rongier being hit by a bottle while celebrating a goal scored by Payet against Montpellier on the opening weekend.
Later that month, Nice fans threw bottles onto the field, causing Marseille and Payet to suffer. Payet was struck and threw the bottle back into the stands, resulting in a pitch invasion by Nice fans. That game was called off and replayed behind closed doors in October at Troyes' neutral ground, with Nice receiving their points penalty.
Saint-Etienne and Angers' October 22 game was delayed by an hour after angry fans hurled flares onto the pitch and demanded Saint-Etienne manager Claude Puel resign. There was also trouble at Saint-game Etienne's against Lyon, and the September match between Lens and Lille was postponed after rival fans clashed at halftime.