Fearing violence at Europa League final, Lyon files lawsuit

Marseille players celebrate their victory at the end of the Europa League second leg semifinal soccer match between Salzburg and Marseille, in Salzburg, Austria, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

LYON, France (AP) Fearing violence could mar the Europa League final, Lyon has filed a formal lawsuit for incitement to criminal damage amid growing tensions with rival French club Marseille.

Marseille will take on Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on May 16 at Lyon Stadium, and club officials fear Marseille supporters will use the trip to trash their venue.

Both sides are fighting in the French league for a Champions league berth, and tensions between them are at their highest level in years.

In March, players from both teams clashed at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille after Memphis Depay scored in the last minute of a frantic match to give Lyon a 3-2 win. Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and Marseille defender Adil Rami each received three-match bans following the incidents.

In recent days, some Marseille fans took to social networks to express violent slogans against Lyon, promising they would ”smash everything” during the Europa League final.

Lyon lamented in a statement on Friday that even ”a French international playing in England” encouraged ”irresponsible” fans in their violent plan. It did not identify the player by his name.