22 Nov 2021 | 10:11 | Football
Marseille forward Dimitri Payet fell to the ground in the fifth minute of the Ligue 1 match in Lyon, match was abandoned almost two hours after initial suspension: Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) condemned the “violent aggression”, labelling the incident a “cowardly attack”
The Ligue 1 game between Lyon and Marseille was abandoned on Sunday after Dimitri Payet was hit on the head by a water bottle thrown from the stands.
Marseille forward Payet fell to the ground in the fifth minute of the Ligue 1 match at Lyon’s Groupama Stadium, with both teams promptly sent to the dressing room by referee Ruddy Buquet.
Almost two hours after initially being suspended, it was announced the match would not resume.
Payet, a France international, was about to take a corner when he was hit by the object and left the pitch with an ice pack on his head.
A stadium announcement initially said the game would resume, but warned a further incident would lead to abandonment.
Lyon players had briefly returned to the pitch to warm up ahead of the proposed resumption, but Marseille’s players remained in their changing room before the match was eventually called off.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said the club sends Payet “our apologies” and added “the perpetrator was immediately reported and caught”.
He added: “The referee summoned everyone a second time to announce that he had changed his mind,” added Aulas.
“When there are 55,000 people in a stadium, precautions must be taken.”
However, Buquet appeared to contradict Aulas and insisted in a post-match TV interview he never intended to resume the match.
During the suspension, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) released a statement in which it said it “regrets” the regional authorities’ intention to resume the match, labelling the incident a “cowardly attack”.
It also said former West Ham player Payet had been the subject of “discriminatory insults” after he was hit by the bottle, condemning the “violent aggression” from the stands.
The disciplinary commission of the LFP will hold a meeting on Monday.
The incident is the latest in a number of Ligue 1 matches marred by crowd trouble this season.
Nice were docked two points, one of them suspended, after serious incidents during their game against Marseille, whose players clashed with home fans who pelted them with missiles and stormed onto the pitch in August.
The match was rescheduled and replayed in October at a neutral location without fans.
The start of the second half of the northern derby between RC Lens and Lille in September was delayed by around half an hour after rival fans threw objects at each other before people ran onto the pitch, prompting riot police and stewards to intervene.