Sunday's Nice vs. Marseille match in France's Ligue 1 turned violent and scary in the second half after fans invaded the field following a bottle-throwing incident. Marseille star Dimitri Payet was struck by a bottle that was thrown by somebody in the stands, and he retaliated by throwing it back into the crowd before brawls nearly ensued.
Fans from Nice stormed onto the field, which prompted security to attempt to defuse a very concerning situation that could have been much worse, with one fan trying to kick Payet. The match was suspended in the 74th minute.
Here's a look at what happened:
Payet was struck in the back of the head with a water bottle. Here's a closer look:
The match was set to resume after nearly two hours after it was suspended, however, Marseille refused to retake the field. It appears Nice will be awarded an automatic 3-0 victory.
Marseille manager Jorge Sampaoli had to be restrained by his staff during the heated moments. OM president Pablo Longoria commented on the situation, calling it "completely unacceptable."
Nice released a statement on Monday. Nice said "any so-called supporters found guilty of involvement in these incidents deserve the harshest of penalties," but also blamed Marseille players and staff for their involvement. Here's part of the statement:
Concerning the pitch invasion, and after retracing the exact chronology of events, OGC Nice has confirmed its judgement of the role played by the Marseille club. Olympique de Marseille players, coach, staff, directors and security personnel were constant catalysts to events throughout the evening. It was the responsibility of those in prominent positions, such as Les Aiglons players and Christophe Galtier to try and calm the situation as much as possible, which is what they did.
While nothing can excuse the actions of a few individuals guilty of throwing bottles onto the pitch, there is no doubt that it was the attitude and actions of several members of Olympique de Marseille that saw the incident escalate out of control. First of all, two experienced members of the OM playing staff lost control and threw projectiles directly into the nearby crowd of spectators, then one of Jorge Sampaoli assistant coaches crossed the field to attack and knock out a supporter, who of course should not have been there, but nevertheless remains in hospital. Justin Kluivert and Jean-Clair Todibo were then both gratuitously attacked by a member of the Marseille security personnel. One should not overlook the provocative actions of several Marseille players in the first half which only added to tensions around the stadium. OGC Nice strongly condemns all these actions that were decisive factors in escalation of these terrible incidents.
On Monday Ligue 1 announced that the LFP disciplinary meeting on Wednesday would take up the matter with both teams expected to attend.