French football again left reeling by rioting fans as Olympics loom

french football team

After Olympique de Marseille’s Ligue 1 match against Olympique Lyonnais was called off on Sunday due to stones and beer bottles being thrown at the visiting team’s bus and several fans, injuring Lyon coach Fabio Grosso, French football was once again tarnished by violence.

After suffering face injuries in the altercation, Grosso, who won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, left the scene to deal with other rioting supporters from the league.

The French League (LFP) does not have the authority to deduct points because the events of Sunday took place outside of Marseille’s Stade Velodrome, but it may determine that the match needs to be played indoors.

Nine people have been arrested thus far, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. “I hope the highest possible prison sentences will be handed out to those fans who ruined the party for everyone,” he stated on BFM TV.

Less than a year before the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, the occurrences are humiliating for the LFP, which has been negotiating a TV rights agreement for 2024–29; the tender ends on Thursday.

Olympic qualifying matches will occur in Marseille, the scene of unrest between English supporters and French authorities during the 1998 World Cup.

The club stated that they would file a formal legal complaint. “OL regrets that this type of situation recurs every year in Marseille and calls on the authorities to assess the seriousness and repetition of this type of incident before an even more serious tragedy occurs,” Lyon said in response.

“What happened to Fabio Grosso is completely intolerable,” said Pablo Longoria, president of OM.

“In football, this is not something that can occur. It is unacceptable, regardless of whether it occurred inside or outside the stadium. The circumstances horrify and infuriate me.”

Marseille released a statement on Monday denouncing the conduct of its supporters.

“Olympique de Marseille deplores the unacceptable incidents that took place in the vicinity of the Stade Orange Velodrome, involving the professional team bus and buses of Olympique Lyonnais supporters,” said the statement.

“The club wishes Lyon coach Fabio Grosso a speedy recovery and strongly condemns this violent behavior, which has no place in the world of football or in society.”


Amelie Oudea-Castera, the sports minister, said to France 2 TV, “We have seen just about everything you would not want to see.” She also mentioned that spectators had been yelling racial and homophobic epithets inside Marseille’s Stade Velodrome.

“It was distressing, revolting, and disgusting.” When some of their supporters were spotted at the Velodrome doing Nazi salutes, Lyon denounced their actions.

The team released a statement saying, “OL firmly condemns the unacceptable racist behavior of individuals in the stands on Sunday.”

“The club has requested the footage in order to identify the perpetrators of any act contrary to the law but also contrary to its values, and it reiterates its determination to keep them away from the stands.”

The away team bus in Marseille has been the subject of attacks before; instances from 2016 and 2019 have been documented. This was not the first time.

Additionally, it occurred after unrest among fans disrupted the 2021–2022 season. During a violent incident during their match against Marseille, where visiting players battled with home supporters who hurled missiles at them and surged onto the pitch, Nice was fined two points, one of which was postponed.

Crowd issues also affected the RC Lens vs. Lille rivalry, delaying the start of the second half as opposing supporters hurled items at one another before fans rushed onto the field, forcing stewards and riot police to step in.

There have also been crowd-related incidents at Montpellier, Angers, Marseille, and St. Etienne during the 2021–2022 season.

Hi, I'm John, a seasoned sports writer with a passion for football. With over 10 years of experience covering the NFL, I provide in-depth analysis and engaging writing that keeps readers informed and entertained.

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