By Tony Attwood
It isn’t of course just England that is seeing a return to racism on the terraces as those within earshot could hear from the away section at yesterday’s game.
The Ligue 1 game between Nice and Marseillais could not conclude on Sunday night after uproar followed a projectile being thrown on the pitch which hit Dimitri Payet, while he was taking a corner and which he then returned to the stands.
Supporters who are part of the Ineos Football group then invaded the field and, as they say in polite circles, “blows were exchanged”. Fans attacked fans, fans attacked players, and then even some members of the club staff joined in. The match was called off at 10:21 p.m. and, despite attempts to get things back on track, it was never resumed.
Three players were injured: the Brazilian Luan Peres was reportedly shot in the neck, while Dimitri Payet and Mattéo Guendouzi showed signs of strangulation. The Niçois Jean-Clair Todibo and Justin Kluivert were hit by … Marseille security men.
“A lot has happened. I told OM that it was not a football issue but a public order matter,” Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivère told Amazon Prime as he argued to have the game resumed.
Later the president of OM, Pablo Longoria, said, “The League (LFP) decided to resume the match. But we felt that for the safety of our players, who were attacked during the invasion of the field, they should not resume because the safety of our players was not guaranteed.”
“The referee was with us, he confirmed to Jorge Sampaoli (the coach) and to me that safety was not guaranteed and had decided to stop the match,”
The Marseillais, had already experienced this kind of problem in Montpellier on Matchday 1 when Valentin Rongier had been hit in the mouth by a projectile – therefore ended up going off the pitch.
Meanwhile on saturday, FC Sion got an unexpected point at Kybunpark, after Hoarau scored in extra time. But then the racist insults started, and some players were so upset that they were found to be in tears by the time they reached the changing room.
It took a day for the media to pick up on the story and the player said today that he had found talking about the events impossible, just as he was finding it impossible to sleep.
His report spoke of having beer and lighters thrown, and being called a monkey. But what has also happened is that the player has now handed the matter over to his legal team with the thought of filing a complaint with the club for failing to protect him and indeed all other players.
The Sion vice president has also stated that “Justice must be done…. As a club we will be there for him because he is an integral part of the family, along with all other players regardless of their origins.
FC Gallen strongly condemned the “unsportsmanlike aggression and verbal violence towards players and referees.” They went on to apologize to the Sion keeper and other Sion players.
The Swiss football league has announced the start of proceedings following the incidents.
There is commentary on the racist abuse at Arsenal in the article
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