Roxana Maracineanu is the current French sports minister, and Maracineanu publicly expressed the fact that French domestic football is in need of a, “radical and immediate,” changes after there was a troubling incident with fans on last Sunday, November 21st, 2021 during a league contest featuring Lyon and Marseille. This problematic experience was just the most recent of many alarming violent episodes that have occurred during games in the French League lately as there have been a whole series of these type of incidents.
The game between Marseille and Lyon last Sunday had to abruptly be stopped following an incident in which a spectator hit the Marseille player, Dimitri Payet, in the head with a full water bottle during just the 4th – minute of game time during this highly – anticipated match.
There have been other problematic violent issues that were comparable to the above – mentioned occurrence last Sunday in France, and this type of behavior has tarnished the reputation of the domestic football landscape ever since the beginning of the current soccer season. Several of the many previous altercations have involved Marseille, and the French League had no problem stating that these problems are, “destroying the image of the league in France and internationally.”
Back in August of 2021 during a game featuring Nice and the 1993 European title champion had to be was stopped and eventually cancelled following the spectators throwing projectiles on the pitch as well as storming the field. During that incident Payet was struck by another bottle that was thrown on the field by fans, and Payet threw it back in the direction of the fans. Also, several football players and members of their staff participated in a large violent brawl. Nice was consequently punished by receiving a deduction of 2 – points, and 1 – point suspended.
During another incident that happened earlier this year, the fans of Montpellier began violently throwing shit at the Marseille football players, and this resulted in Valentin Rongier suffering a gash to his lip. Last September of 2021, Angers and visiting Marseille fans stormed the field and the fans then engaged in fights all over the place.
The Marseille Football Club just so happens to be owned and operated by the American businessman, Frank McCourt, has had his share of crazy moments as the football club owner had to deal with a severe situation last January of 2021 when several hundred fans of his team physically forced their way into the football club’s practice/training facility just a matter of hours prior to a home French League match. In statements made following this dramatic incident, McCourt compared the violent behavior to the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the United States of America Capitol.
According to sources at the L’Equipe newspaper, 4 – people, which includes the individual that threw the bottle at Payet, were arrested and charged with crimes in the aftermath of last Sunday’s contest. The French League condemned the recent assault on Payet, and the French League also proclaimed that Payet was verbally assaulted with, “insults of a discriminatory nature.”
Prior to Monday’s disciplinary commission’s emergency meeting, the French League stated that the security provided for these games is the responsibility of the hosting football club and the local authorities.
Other football teams have been afflicted by problems caused by the fans throughout this crazy season of soccer matches. In September of 2021, the spectators stormed the field in Lens in the northern rivalry with Lille, and fights broke out in the crowd all over the place. Also, this season in a match involving Paris Saint – Germain vs. Lyon, a teenage child was badly hurt after being struck by a thrown seat.
In October of 2021, during a contest featuring Saint – Etienne and Angers had to be delayed for close to an hour due to another invasion of the field and road flares were being thrown on to the field prior to the kickoff of this heated battle.
UEFA may need to step in and regulate if things do not turn around in the right direction during these French football matches.
“What happened in Lyon is unacceptable,” the French sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, explained.
“Dimitri Payet has my full support,” Maracineanu goes on to say. “We cannot allow players to be assaulted in this way. Such acts should result in an automatic stoppage of games at the very least.”
The Associated Press News Services. “Sports minister wants sanctions after French soccer violence”. The Associated Press. November 22, 2021.