Lyon to play without fans after Marseille match abandoned

France’s Professional Football League (LFP) has ruled that matches at Olympique Lyonnais’ Groupama Stadium must be played without fans after a bottle struck Olympique de Marseille’s Dimitri Payet on the head during a Ligue 1 match between the two teams yesterday (Sunday).

Payet was hit by the bottle, which was thrown by a Lyon fan, after just five minutes of last night’s fixture as he was about to take a corner for Marseille. The match was subsequently abandoned.

The LFP released a statement describing the moment as a “cowardly attack” and the governing body has today punished Lyon by forcing it to play without fans until further notice.

The first match to be impacted by the ruling will be Lyon’s home fixture against Stade de Reims on December 1. The LFP will carry out an investigation into the incident and the body’s disciplinary commission will meet on December 8 to determine any further punishment.

Yesterday’s attack was the latest in a string of crowd trouble incidents at French football matches this season and the country’s Sports Minister has said that the “survival of French football is at stake” if the trend continues.

Last month, AS Saint-Etienne was ordered to play a home match behind closed doors following crowd trouble at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard during its game against Angers. The match was delayed by an hour after home fans let off smoke bombs and ran onto the pitch at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

In August, OGC Nice was hit with a partial stadium closure following unrest at the Allianz Riviera during the match against Marseille. Nice was later docked two points, one of which was suspended, following the incident.

Image: Zakarie Faibis/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size