This was the question posed to me by my beloved who, courtesy of the mayor of Nice, had been invited to the first home game of the season at OGC Nice’s Allianz stadium. Usually my answer would be affirmative but in the current environment I frankly wasn’t too sure. As soon as I found out it was our local derby with Marseille, I declined. Largely for two reasons: it would be a sell out and it’s a match where there’s often trouble with the fans.
It all started so well………
Turned out my concerns were valid.
Trouble flared at the Allianz Riviera Stadium flared in the 75th minute last Sunday when Marseille star Payet, who had been targeted by topless, plastic bottles every time he took a corner, launched one back at Nice’s Ultra fans. At this point Nice were leading 1-0 courtesy of a Dolberg goal.
Angry home supporters then clambered onto the pitch, threatening Payet. A security cordon of stewards, dressed in yellow vests, tried to stem the pitch invasion before a brawl broke out between both team’s players, supporters and staff. Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli was seen being restrained by his staff and players. Angry words were allegedly also exchanged between mayoral staff and their opposite numbers in the VIP stand. Finally, the referee led both teams off to the safety of the dressing room.
Eighty minutes after the game was suspended Nice said they wanted to restart the match.
The match was abandoned when Marseille refused to restart the match with club officials claiming their players’ safety could not be guaranteed.
Understandably, France’s Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has summoned the two clubs to a disciplinary hearing today.
It may be worth bearing in mind that Marseille’s opening 3-2 win at Montpellier two weeks ago was also held up when fans pelted the pitch with bottles.That clash at Montpellier’s Stade Mosson was halted in the 89th minute after Marseille substitute Valentin Rongier was hit on the head.
I think it’s clear that the authorities are going to come down hard on both teams.