Lyon docked 1 point in French league after fan violence
PARIS (AP) — Lyon has been docked one point by the French league’s disciplinary committee, which also ordered a replay of the match between Lyon and Marseille that was abandoned after a spectator threw a bottle at Dimitri Payet.
The match will be played again in an empty stadium at a date yet to be determined, the league said Wednesday.
The violence in Lyon last month was the latest in a series of disturbing episodes at French stadiums and led the country’s sports minister to call for a “radical” reality check and sanctions.
The match was halted and then abandoned after Marseille’s Payet was hit on the head with a bottle filled with water in the fourth minute, with the score 0-0.
Lyon has already played a match without fans since the incident took place following a provisional decision last month that the seven-time French champions should play in an empty stadium pending a final sanction.
Lyon has been inconsistent this season, managing just six wins from 16 league games. Following the disciplinary committee’s decision, the club lags 20 points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain.
Similar incidents have marred domestic soccer since the start of the season, many of them involving Marseille.
In August, a match between Nice and Marseille was abandoned after fans threw projectiles and invaded the field. Payet was also hit by a bottle in that game and threw it back at the supporters. Players and staff members were also involved in a brawl. Nice was subsequently deducted two points, with one point suspended.
Earlier in the season, Montpellier fans threw projectiles at Marseille players with Valentin Rongier sustaining a cut to his lip. In September, Angers and visiting Marseille supporters ran onto the field and fought.
Marseille, which is owned by American businessman Frank McCourt, also faced a mutiny of its own fans in January when a few hundred forced their way into the club’s training complex hours before a league game. After the incident, McCourt linked the violence to bigger societal issues, comparing the supporters’ protests to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Other clubs have been affected by crowd trouble this season.
In September, fans ran onto the field in Lens in the northern derby with Lille, and fighting broke out in the stands. During a game between PSG and Lyon, a teenager was injured by a seat thrown.
In October, a match between Saint-Etienne and Angers was delayed for about an hour because fans ran onto the field and threw flares onto the playing surface before kickoff.