PSG game at Marseille postponed due to swine flu

BY foxsports • October 25, 2009

Nearly a dozen people were injured after violence broke out between rival fans on Sunday following the postponement of Paris Saint-Germain's French league match at fierce rival Marseille after several PSG players contracted swine flu. Police prefect Philippe Klayman told reporters in Marseille that "about ten people" had been arrested following the clashes. One PSG supporter was hit by a car and was hospitalized with a broken leg while a police officer was slightly injured. A third PSG player was diagnosed with swine flu on Sunday and the French league decided to postpone the game following advice from its medical commission. No new date for the match has been decided but Marseille coach Didier Deschamps asked the league to reschedule it on Wednesday. The violent incidents between Marseille and PSG fans started in downtown Marseille. Police used tear gas to stop the clashes, while about 60 Parisian fans were kept apart from home supporters near Marseille's old port area. Further incidents were reported near the train station. Earlier in the afternoon, about 100 PSG fans - some of them wearing shirts emblazoned with the Kop of Boulogne emblem used by the hard core supporters - started a fight, forcing police to intervene. PSG president Robin Leproux said his club was working with Marseille's security officials and police to help Parisian fans return to the capital as soon as possible. "As we speak, there are no serious injuries, but a lot of minor injuries," Leproux told a news conference. Matches between Marseille and PSG are regularly marred by violence off the pitch, and special security measures were in force in and around the Velodrome stadium. Marseille president Jean-Claude Dassier called the decision to postpone the game "late and skimpy." "Let's hope I won't have to call it a dangerous decision before the end of the evening," Dassier said, referring to violence. French Sports Minister Rama Yade urged Marseille and PSG officials to speak responsibly "while police forces are still deployed to maintain public order. "Everybody has to respect the decision (to postpone the game)," Yade said. "The time is for preventive action and caution, not for controversies." On the medical front, PSG players and staff members will be quarantined for the next 72 hours to avoid any risk of new infection. The league said it wanted to avoid any risk of contamination "including on the opposing team and to avoid any serious medical complications that could occur." It had initially said Saturday that the game would go ahead despite the first two swine flu cases - Ludovic Giuly and Mamadou Sakho - being diagnosed. "The League made its decision today when it could have been yesterday, but there are medical circumstances," Klayman said. "If the match had been canceled yesterday, a majority of fans would not have made the trip." PSG announced only a few hours before the game was due to start that an unidentified third player had been hit by the virus and two other staff members were having similar symptoms. According to the French media, the third player is midfielder Jeremy Clement. French league president Frederic Thiriez said that the "players' safety is more important that any other consideration," and apologized to the fans, clubs and French television station Canal, which holds the broadcasting rights. Four swine flu cases have been diagnosed in the French first division. Montpellier defender Emir Spahic contracted the virus in August. Marseille trails leader Bordeaux by five points, while PSG is 13th after three draws and two losses in its last five games.

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