Lyon’s Ligue 1 home game against Marseille was abandoned after Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle hurled by a spectator, embarrassing the French’s game again.
Former West Ham playmaker Payet was preparing for a corner in a hostile atmosphere when he was hit on the side of the head by a plastic bottle full of liquid.
He went down immediately and had to be treated, whereupon referee Ruddy Buquet took the players off the pitch. Payet left the field with an ice pack on the side of his head.
Lyons President Jean-Michel Aulas later said a bystander had been arrested in connection with throwing bottles and apologized to Payet.
The Professional Football League (LFP) said its disciplinary chiefs would meet on Monday, describing the violent incidents in Ligue 1 as acts that “destroy the image of the championship in France and internationally”.
Lyon could expect a point deduction due to the incident as Nice conceded two points, one of which was suspended after facing crowd problems earlier this season against Marseille.
president @JM_Aulas : “After a rather long discussion, a decision was made by Mr Buquet. With 55,000 people in a stadium, precautions must be taken. The referee called everyone a second time to say he had changed his mind. “
– Olympique Lyonnais (@OL_English) November 21, 2021
The LFP said it “strongly condemns the violent aggression” that Payet has suffered. “Dimitri Payet was also the target of discriminatory insults,” said the LFP.
It added a strong warning that fan misconduct will result in sanctions: “Despite the firmness of the decisions of the LFP Disciplinary Committee since the start of the season”. [withdrawal of points, closed-door match, closure of the stand] and working with government agencies to more effectively punish violent people in the stadiums, these new serious incidents are a reminder that the safety of the games is the responsibility of the home club and local authorities, which are ultimately responsible for the resumption or the game to stop for good.
The grave matter of the attack on Payet had a bizarre side effect as the LFP and local authorities had conflicting views on what happened after the players were dragged off the field.
The LFP claimed the local Rhone Prefecture had made a decision to restart the game but these officials reached out to league authorities saying they had not made such a statement, stressing that Buquet decided it should start again before he changed his mind.
Fans stayed at Groupama Stadium long after the incident, hoping for a resumption that never happened, though it looked like it did at some point when the players returned to the pitch to warm up.
Rhone local government officials said in a statement on Twitter that a “crisis meeting” was held, attended by their representatives and others, including match officials and presidents of both clubs, at which referee Buquet ruled that the game should be restarted.
Rhone officials issued a later statement questioning the LFP’s attitude, calling it ‘FALSE’, adding: ‘The referee then invites the authorities and club presidents to his dressing room to say that he has changed his mind and stops playing. “
There have been a number of major spectator problem incidents in French football this season, starting with the opening weekend when Marseille midfielder Valentin Rongier was hit by a bottle while celebrating a goal that Payet scored against Montpellier.
Marseille and Payet faced each other in August after Nice fans tossed bottles onto the pitch. Payet was beaten and tossed the bottle back in the stands, sparking a pitch invasion by Nice Ultras. That game was abandoned in October and replayed behind closed doors on neutral ground by Troyes, with Nice receiving their point penalty.
Saint-Etienne and Angers were delayed by an hour when their game began on October 22 after angry fans hurled torches on the pitch and demanded that Claude Puel step down as Saint-Etienne boss. There was also trouble at Saint-Etienne’s game against Lyon, while Lens and Lille’s clash in September was held up after a clash between rival fans at halftime.
4 ′ The referee stopped play after Dimitri Payet was hit by a loaded water bottle. #OLOM | – |
– Olympique de Marseille (@OM_English) November 21, 2021