Chaotic French soccer match abandoned as fans clash with players

  • A Ligue 1 game was abandoned on Sunday after fans stormed the pitch to attack opposing players.
  • Chaos ensued after a Marseille player threw a bottle thrown at him at Nice supporters.
  • RMC reports that three players were injured in the rowdiness.

Chaotic scenes unfolded in France’s elite soccer league on Sunday as a match had to be abandoned after fans stormed the pitch when a player threw a bottle thrown at him in the crowd.

OGC Nice were leading Marseille 1-0 at the Allianz Riviera stadium when Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet was hit by a plastic bottle thrown by the home crowd as he was about to take a deep corner in the second half.

The bottle, which seemed full, hit Payet in the back.

The Marseille star angrily threw the bottle back, prompting a large number of Nice supporters to try to invade the pitch to attack Payet and the other Marseille players.

OGC Nice supporters invade the lawn during their abandoned match against Marseille, Sunday August 22.

OGC Nice supporters invade the lawn during their abandoned match against Marseille, Sunday August 22.

John Berry/Getty Images

Staff from both sides were also involved, with video appearing to show a Marseille staff member punching a Nice fan in the face.

With stewards unable to handle the chaos, the game was suspended and both teams returned to their locker rooms.

After a long delay, the Nice players came out to finish the game, but the Marseille players refused, resulting in the game being abandoned.

RMC Sports report that three Marseille players were injured in the rowdiness, with defender Luan Peres and midfielder Mateo Guendouzi suffering from what appeared to be strangulation marks around their necks.

Payet also suffered back scratches.

“Our players have been attacked,” said Marseille president Pablo Longoria.

“We have decided for the safety of our players, who were attacked during the invasion of the pitch, not to resume the game because the safety of our players was not guaranteed.”

He added: “What happened today is unacceptable. We have to make it a precedent for French football and that is why we have decided to return to Marseille.”

Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere called the scenes “disappointing”, but suggested the fault lay partly with Payet and the Marseille players.

“Everyone saw what happened,” he said. “You can’t deny that water bottles were thrown because we could all see it. What started the clashes was the reaction of two Marseille players who fought back.

“Afterwards, it is deplorable that Marseille’s security personnel intervened on the pitch and beat our players.”

If the usual Ligue 1 rules are applied, an automatic 3-0 victory will be awarded to Nice as Marseille refused to continue playing, but any such decision would have to be appealed.


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