The Ligue 1 game between Nice and Marseille was called off midway last night after many home fans broke onto the pitch and assaulted the players. Nice was leading the game 1-0 as they had scored the opener in the 49th minute. Chaos unleashed in the 76th minute and the game was temporarily called off.
Reports suggested that the game was going to be resumed but after 90 minutes of waiting, the game was called off and 1 point was given to both sides considering the game to be a draw.
Marseille president, Pablo Longoria was furious after the game and said that the league officials wanted the game to be resumed but his club refused to step onto the pitch and wanted to head back home. FootTheBall breaks down the events of last night’s chaos in Nice and figures out who was responsible for the havoc.
HOW CHAOS UNFOLDED
In the 76th minute, Marseille got a corner and Dimitri Payet stepped up to take the set-piece. Since the stands of the Nice stadium are extremely close to the pitch, home fans threw a bottle that struck Payet in the head as he fell down losing his balance.
The home fans had been throwing bottles at Payet throughout the game but when Payet fell down he lost his cool. He hurled the bottles back at the crowd and the fans didn’t take this action well.
A hoard of Nice fans climbed the barriers and brushed past the few stewardesses who were responsible for stopping pitch invaders. Marseille’s head coach, Jorge Sampaoli was fuming and had a violent outbreak against the home fans who were on the pitch.
— Vitinho (@VitinhoXLFC) August 22, 2021
The fans made it onto the pitch and started physically assaulting the Marseille players. Matteo Guendouzi and a few other Marseille players rushed to protect Payet but even they got into the brawl. Dante, the Nice captain, urged the fans to calm down but it was too late. The fans started throwing punches and kicking the players and it took a long time to clear the pitch invaders.
The Ligue 1 officials gave the signal to resume the game but when the club consulted the referee, he said it is not safe for the players to continue. The club later released a few pictures to show the damage done by Nice fans.
The violent fans had grabbed the necks of Matteo Guendouzi and Luan Perez as we can see the marks on the neck of the players. There are even scratches all over the player’s back. Even Payet could have been gravely injured because an impact on the back of a head can be very dangerous and can even cause a person to go into a coma or be permanently paralyzed.
Surprisingly no arrests have been made yet which is why the club and Marseille supporters are fuming. Politicians are saying that Nice should be punished for this and there are chances fans won’t be allowed in their stadium for a few months. Nothing has been confirmed yet but punishment is surely in the works.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE
Fans have been throwing stuff from the stands for many years now and it is baffling to see that the leagues and the clubs haven’t taken any serious action. Payet threw back the bottle that was thrown at him in the first place. The player is not wrong by any means and the fans couldn’t digest that Payet had the guts to do it.
— Asham Sport ® (@ashamsportreal) August 22, 2021
A similar thing had happened with Marseille when they were playing an away game against Montpellier as fans started throwing water bottles when their side was losing badly. The number of people in charge of security are far less than the number of fans in the stadium and hence they are obviously not enough to stop them so they can’t be held accountable.
To stop this, the clubs could make the barriers separating the pitch and the stands making it impenetrable for the fans. They could construct tall barriers around the stands which will make it impossible for fans to throw stuff on the pitch.
This will also impair the vision of the supporters seated close to the ground but it will ensure the safety of the players and staff. If fans around the world keep this up, there will be repercussions like these, which is a huge blow to football fanatics.