Crowd trouble threatens future of French football, says sports minister

Repeated crowd trouble at Ligue 1 matches is putting the “survival” of French football “at stake”, says sports minister Roxana Maracineanu.

Sunday’s game between Lyon and Marseille was abandoned after Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle thrown from the stands five minutes into the game.

Payet has already been struck with a bottle during a match this season.

This season the league has been marred by crowd violence, missile throwing and pitch invasions.

On Monday, the French League (LFP) announced Lyon will play their next home Ligue 1 game behind closed doors pending an investigation into Sunday’s trouble.

Lyon host Reims on 1 December, with the result of the investigation expected to be delivered on 8 December.

“They have to come to an agreement, this kind of problem is for the league to solve,” Maracineanu told France Info radio.

“Everyone must understand that it’s the survival of French soccer that’s at stake.”

France’s sports and interior ministries will meet over the issue on Tuesday.

Sunday’s game was halted for more than two hours before officially being called off.

“It’s a world where millions of euros are at stake,” added Maracineanu.

“We can’t allow that a broadcaster, who has bought rights, must keep the conversation moving for more than an hour like they did when we don’t know if the match is going to continue.”

Original article published 22.11.21 on the BBC Sport website.

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