The Coupe de France tie between Paris FC and Lyon was abandoned on Friday night after hundreds of fans invaded the pitch at the Stade Charlety in southern Paris.
Just as Lyon players were beginning to return to the field for the second period of the last 64 clash, they were ushered away by a phalanx of stewards as riot police moved into position to contain a faction of Lyon spectators who had escaped from their enclosure.
Home fans in adjacent stands fled onto the field to avoid several marauding hordes.
Once the away fans were back in their compound, they let off flares and continued to sing out abusive chants.
Around 50 minutes after the second half should have started, the Paris FC stadium announcer, flanked by the club president Pierre Ferracci, emerged to declare that the match had been cancelled.
“Please go home safely, thank you for coming out tonight,” added the announcer.
The administrative chaos and ugly scenes came just a day after government ministers and organisers of the professional competitions laid down strict guidelines for referees and security chiefs to stop matches immediately if players or match officials are injured by missiles thrown from the stands.
That review was prompted by a match between Lyon and Marseille on 21 November when the Marseille skipper Dimitri Payet collapsed on the pitch after he was hit on the head by a full bottle of water thrown from the stands.
The game – only five minutes old – was halted and then called off nearly two hours later following occasionally acrimonious discussions between officials and players from both clubs.
Though no players were hurt on Friday night, it is understood the risk of returning for the second half was too great.
Paris FC, who play in Ligue 2, opened the scoring after seven minutes through Gaetan Laura.
The Lyon skipper Moussa Dembélé equalised for the Ligue 1 outfit on the stroke of half-time with a sumptuous strike from just outside the penalty area into the top right hand corner.
“We had a lot of families, a lot of kids, a great game,” Ferracci told RMC. “And then there was a bunch of idiots who ruined everything as usual. The Lyon Ultras who arrived a bit late, that contributed to annoy them. The ultras came to cause trouble.”
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said: “We have to analyse the situation and recognise the responsibility. We will punish where necessary but we can’t bear all the responsibility. Everything must be analysed.
“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t think we’re responsible for the incidents … but as a result it generated things that should never be seen again in a football stadium.”
Source: Modern Ghana
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