Ligue 1: Marseille-Nice football clash suspended after riots, crowd violence

The Ligue 1 football encounter between Marseille and Nice turned violent as crowd trouble and riots erupted, with some players also getting injured.

Crowd trouble saw the Marseille vs Nice Ligue 1 clash suspended. (Image credit: Goal Twitter)
By Siddharth vishwanathan | Aug 23, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The Ligue 1 football match between Marseille and Nice saw ugly scenes as the game was marred by crowd violence. The rivalry between Marseille and Nice has always been a contentious one in Ligue 1 football history and this was no exception. During the 75th minute of the match, former West Ham United player Dimitri Payet was hit on the back of the head by a bottle thrown from the stands. Payet hurled the bottle back and that resulted in absolute chaos.

Nice fans threw bottles at Marseille supporters and there was a clash between players and fans on the pitch. The stewards and players of the Nice football team tried to intervene but more missiles and bottles were thrown on the pitch. The referee then made the decision to take the teams off the pitch. A section of the Nice fans had been continuously throwing bottles at the Marseille supporters, resulting in the stadium announcer calling for restraint.

But, after the altercations which saw the game suspended for 90 minutes, the Marseille players refused to come out on the field. The match was suspended by Ligue 1 officials. Nice had been leading 1-0 thanks to a goal by Kasper Dolberg.

The Ligue 1 rules are very clear. If the team fails to complete the match at full time, then the opposition is awarded a 3-0 win in the return fixture. However, Marseille is expected to appeal the decision in the wake of the crowd trouble. Several Marseille players revealed strangling marks. Nice’s football president Jean-Pierre Rivere had to appeal to the fans to calm down.

Controversy to continue after suspension

However, this is not the first time that Marseille has been plagued by crowd trouble. In February 2021, 100 ultras stormed the club’s training ground. They managed to breach the gates and set off dozens of fireworks, firecrackers, and smoke bombs, causing fires. Alvaro Gonzalez was struck by a missile and he suffered a back injury.

The reason for the fury of the fans was Marseille’s slump towards the end of the Ligue 1 season. The city, itself, has seen plenty of hooligan violence when major tournaments were held in France. In Euro 2016, Marseille was at the epicenter of violence. In the Russia vs England match at Marseille, Russian fans rushed at England fans and that saw some fights. Bottles were hurled. Six English fans were arrested for bottle-throwing.

History of crowd trouble in Marseille

Before Euro 2016, the 1998 FIFA World Cup also saw high levels of violence in Marseille. The England vs Tunisia match saw a total of 32 people were injured during three days of rioting and violence. Drunk Englishmen crowded the streets to chant and warm themselves up ahead of the tie. But, things got out of control as 400 English supporters were involved in pitched battles with Tunisian fans, local youths and police during seven hours of violence.

This latest round of violence will not help the club as it battles a slump that began towards the end of last season. The slump and violence saw their coach Andre Villas-Boas exiting.

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