Summary List Placement
Chaotic scenes unfolded in France’s elite soccer league Sunday as a match had to be abandoned after fans stormed the pitch when a player threw a bottle that had been thrown at him back into the crowd.
OGC Nice was leading Marseille 1-0 at the Allianz Riviera Stadium when Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet was hit by a plastic bottle thrown from the home crowd as he went to take a corner deep into the second half.
The bottle, which appeared to be full, hit Payet hard on the back.
The Marseille star launched the bottle back in anger, prompting large numbers of Nice fans to attempt to invade the pitch to attack Payet and Marseille’s other players.
Staff from both sides were also involved, with one video appearing to show a Marseille staff member punching a Nice fan in the face.
With stewards unable to manage the chaos, the match was suspended and both teams returned to their dressing rooms.
After a long delay, Nice’s players came out to finish the game, however Marseille’s players refused to, resulting in the match being abandoned.
RMC Sports reports that three Marseille players were injured in the ruckus, with defender Luan Peres and midfielder Mateo Guendouzi suffering what appeared to be choke marks around their necks.
Payet also suffered scratches to his back.
— RMC Sport (@RMCsport) August 22, 2021
“Our players were attacked,” said Marseille president Pablo Longoria.
“We decided for the safety of our players, who were attacked during the pitch invasion, not to resume the match because the safety of our players was not guaranteed.”
He added: “What happened today is unacceptable. We must make it a precedent for French football and that’s why we decided to return to Marseille.”
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere described the scenes as “disappointing” but suggested the blame lay partly on Payet and the Marseille players.
“Everyone saw what happened,” he said. “We can’t deny that water bottles were thrown because we could all see it. What ignited the clashes was the reaction of two Marseille players who retaliated.
“Afterwards, it is deplorable that the Marseille security staff intervened on the ground and hit our players.”
If usual Ligue 1 rules are applied, an automatic 3-0 victory will be awarded to Nice as Marseille refused to play on, however any such decision is expected to be appealed.