Marseille face Ligue 1 sanctions following crowd trouble
Marseille is making more noise off the pitch than on it these days.
Following a rocky summer marked by the shock resignation of coach Marcelo Bielsa, the nine-time champion has only managed two wins in its first six league games to trail league leader Paris Saint-Germain by seven points.
Marseille players stood up to the challenge of Lyon despite having one less man on the pitch for the entire second-half in Sunday’s 1-1 draw, but their fine collective performance was overshadowed by the incidents that marred the game at the Velodrome.
The match was suspended for about 20 minutes in the second half after fans threw projectiles including glass bottles onto the pitch. Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi was hit by a fire bomb but escaped uninjured and police forces were deployed in front of the Marseille kop before the match restarted.
Marseille fans also caused widespread indignation in French media after they hung an effigy of former player Mathieu Valbuena, who was booed during the whole game on his return to the southern club.
With the 2016 European Championship to be held in France next year, Sports secretary Thierry Braillard called for tougher security checks in stadiums.
”This is unacceptable, sports should be festive, this is not war,” Braillard told TV channel iTELE on Monday. ”You can’t show such a bad image when you want to organize big (sporting) events. Indisputably, security procedures failed at the Stade Velodrome.”
There was no official reaction from Marseille, which now faces sanctions from the French league authorities and travels to Toulouse on Wednesday.