Partial stadium closure for Marseille after crowd trouble
PARIS (AP) Marseille was ordered Thursday to play its next league game in front of a reduced crowd following trouble at the Stade Velodrome last month.
The French league's disciplinary commission decided the closure of the stadium's South stand for two matches, with the North stand closed for one game.
Marseille was sanctioned for its fans' behavior during a 1-1 draw with Lyon on Sept. 20. The match was suspended twice after fans threw projectiles including glass bottles onto the pitch.
Marseille had already been hit with a provisional sanction and played its previous home game against Angers in a half-empty stadium. The league said ''as a consequence, the sanction will be implemented on the South stand for the Marseille vs. Lorient match.''
Marseille, which hosts Lorient on Sunday, was also handed a suspended one-match stadium ban and a 40,000 euro ($45.000) fine.
The match against Lyon was played in a toxic atmosphere. Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi was hit by a fire bomb but escaped uninjured and police forces were deployed in front of the Marseille fans. The supporters also caused widespread indignation 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 after the incidents.
Marseille president Vincent Labrune has since met with the main supporters groups and safety nets separating fans from the pitch have been reintroduced inside the Velodrome.