Lyon bars fans from attending away games after latest incident of hooliganism in French football

It is the second match this season involving Lyon fans which has had to be abandoned

Agence France-Presse December 18, 2021 20:19:28 IST
Lyon bars fans from attending away games after latest incident of hooliganism in French football

Spectators enter the pitch, forcing match officials to call off the Coupe de France game between Paris FC and Olympique Lyonnais at the Charlety stadium in Paris. AFP

Paris: Ligue 1 club Lyon have barred their supporters from attending away matches until further notice following the latest incident involving their fans led to the abandonment of Friday's French Cup match with Paris FC.

The club said in a statement on Saturday that "more than ever we must eradicate hooliganism and ban all those who are enemies, by their acts, of football."

It is the second match this season involving Lyon fans which has had to be abandoned -- their home league game with Marseille was called off after OM captain Dimitri Payet was hit on the head with a plastic bottle.

This week's game saw flares fired off between the two sets of supporters and fighting around the stand containing the Lyon fans leading to people spilling onto the pitch and the referee called off the match at half-time.

Lyon were being held 1-1 by the Ligue 2 outfit.

"Until further notice and until the light is shone on who the perpetrators are, Lyon have decided to forbid our supporters to travel to away matches," they said in the statement.

Noel Le Graet, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), denounced the incidents as "intolerable" and the hooligans had to be "chased from sporting venues."

"The right decision was taken by the referee to stop the match as quickly as possible, he reacted very well in what was a difficult situation.

"These groups of pseudo supporters, who are at the root of these incidents and the violence, have no business being in a stadium."

The FFF's disciplinary commission also issued a statement on Saturday saying it would meet early next week to discuss the incident.

"The subsequent disciplinary decisions will be taken the following week before the next round of the French Cup (the last 32 on Jan 2/3)," it said in a statement.

The Paris public prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into the violence.

The latest bout of hooliganism came just a day after the French government announced new measures to combat the rising tide of violence in French football stadia.

Among the measures was matches will be called off definitively if a player or official is injured by a projectile thrown from the stands.

They also demanded that decisions as to whether a game should be called off due to other reasons — such as fighting between rival fans — be taken within half an hour.

Such decisions must be reached without club presidents being involved. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas received a five-match ban on Wednesday over his behaviour following the interruption of the Lyon-Marseille match.

Plastic bottles are neither to be sold or allowed into stadia by July 1 at the latest.

Ligue 1 and second-tier clubs must also have security measures in place from the 2022-23 season against projectiles being thrown, which the regional police chief can order them to install for particular matches.

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