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Ligue 1: the Nice-Marseille match definitively stopped after the refusal of OM players to resume play – archyde

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The images are terrible, and their repercussions on the reputation of French football dramatic. The Ligue 1 match between Nice and Marseille, played Sunday August 22 evening at the end of the 3e day, did not come to an end, after many pathetic events: throwing bottles at the players, invasion of the field by Nice supporters, fights … The almost complete lot of street football, far from what must convey a professional championship, was offered to the Allianz Riviera in Nice.

The initiating incident began in the 75e minute when Marseille player Dimitri Payet returned to the Nice supporters’ stand one of the many plastic bottles he received every time he went for a corner. Hit by one of the projectiles, Payet collapsed to the ground before getting up and grabbing the bottle that had hit him to throw it towards the stand. Furious, supporters descended on the lawn to threaten the OM player, before the referee sent the players back to the locker room.

His teammates Alvaro Gonzalez and Mattéo Guendouzi ran towards the “Kop” to harangue the area where the bottle came from. Dante, the Nice captain, arrived in turn to try to calm the supporters.

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“The safety of our players was not guaranteed”

A security cordon of stewards, dressed in yellow vests, tried to stop the supporters, but blows were exchanged at different places of the pitch in a scrimmage between players of the two teams, supporters and stewards. Photos circulated on social networks, showing marks on Marseille players, including cuts to the neck on Luan Peres and the scratched back of Payet. Among the many angry actors, Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli had to be overpowered by members of his staff not to fight.

One hour and twenty minutes after the interruption, Nice wanted to resume the game, a resumption pushed by the prefectural authority. But not OM. “I know very well that the game could have resumed. I was sure it would go very well. Unfortunately the Marseillais did not wish to resume the match. Of which act. “, said the President of Nice, Jean-Pierre Rivère, in a press conference.

Argentinian OM coach Jorge Sampaoli (left) grabs the arm of Nice player Jean-Clair Todibo on August 22, 2021.

“We decided for the safety of our players, who were attacked when the pitch was invaded, not to resume the match because the safety of our players was not guaranteed”, explained the president of OM, Pablo Longoria, in a video sent to the media after the incidents.

“The referee was with us, he confirmed to us at [l’entraîneur] Jorge Sampaoli and me that safety was not guaranteed and had decided to stop the match ”, he continued.

A green carpet battle looms

Indeed, the referee Benoît Bastien put the ball at the corner post, whistled to signify the resumption of play, and noted the absence of the Marseillais. “The League had decided for a matter of public order to resume the match. This is not acceptable for us, we have decided to return to Marseille ”, justified Mr. Longoria.

“We had water bottle throws, that we can not dispute”, recognized, for his part, the President of Nice. “Unfortunately what set fire to the powder is the reaction of two Marseille players to reject these bottles, or other bottles, through the platform of our supporters and then after that was a bit chained”, continued Mr. Rivère, accusing the Marseille security service of having hit two Nice players.

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When the match was interrupted, a quarter of an hour from its theoretical end, OGC Nice was leading 1-0, thanks to a goal from its Danish striker Kasper Dolberg, scored in the 49e minute. If the result was approved, Nice (7 points) would now be in the 3e championship place, Marseille (4 points) at 9e. But now a battle on the green carpet is looming to determine the result.

“What happened today is completely unacceptable, we must set a precedent for French football”, insisted Pablo Longoria calling for sanctions. “This is already the second time that we have experienced this after Montpellier” on the second day, regretted the Marseille president. After throwing bottles in Montpellier against OM the week, the Butte Paillade stand from which the projectiles had started, was closed.

Read also “Threatened with bankruptcy, Ligue 1 finally promises a show”

The World with AFP

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