Coupe de France match abandoned due to crowd violence

Crowd violence forced the abandonment of the Coupe de France match between Lyon and Paris FC at 1-1 on Friday.

At half-time, supporters launched flares, the pitch was invaded, and brawls broke out in the stands.

The start of the second half at Charlety Stadium was delayed by around 50 minutes when the stadium authorities announced the stoppage of the match.

The president of Paris FC, Pierre Ferracci, pointed the finger at Lyon.

“There’s a bunch of idiots who messed it up, as usual.” Ferracci told RMC. “And this bunch of idiots are the Lyon ultras. (…) It is obvious that the ultras have come to screw up a mess, as usual.”

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has sought to minimize the guilt of his club’s supporters.

“There are obviously shared responsibilities,” Aulas said at a press conference. “I don’t think we are responsible for the incidents.”

Paris FC second division team opened the scoring against the run of the game in the eighth minute. Gaetan Laura sprinted from his own half to lead a counterattack and shot goalkeeper Anthony Lopes in the legs from a tight angle.

Lyon striker Moussa Dembele equalized immediately after half-time, taking his place from the edge of the box to shoot into the top corner.

A spectator by the name of Louis told RMC of the violence: “At half-time there were guys behind who climbed the fence and started to fight. There were a lot of people wearing balaclavas, they had belts, they wanted to smash as many faces as they could. I don’t know if we can qualify them as supporters, but it was part of the Lyon section that caused a huge influx of crowds. There was a panic reaction. They are crazy.

“Frankly, I was scared for my safety. It’s mind-boggling after everything that has happened in recent months, especially with Lyon. Security was zero. Riot police arrived 10 minutes later.

Lyon supporters are increasingly under surveillance after the abandonment of a French championship match at home in November, as Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet was hit in the head by a water bottle thrown from the stands. Lyon was sanctioned with one point by the disciplinary commission while Lyon’s president Jean-Michel Aulas was suspended for 10 games for intimidating remarks made against the referee who decided to give up the game.

Crowd violence has been a recurring problem for French football this season.

In August, a French league match between Nice and Marseille was abandoned after supporters threw projectiles and rushed onto the pitch. Payet was also hit by a bottle in this game and sent it back to the fans. Players and staff were even involved in a brawl. Nice received a two-point penalty, one of which was suspended.

Also in August, Montpellier supporters threw projectiles at Marseille players and the game was suspended for more than 10 minutes. The lip of Marseille midfielder Valentin Rongier was cut by a projectile.

In September, supporters invaded the Angers lawn as Marseille and Angevin supporters clashed.

In September, supporters rushed onto the pitch in Lens and clashed in the stands in the northern derby with Lille. Also that month, a teenager was injured by a thrown siege during a match between PSG and Lyon.

In October, a game between Saint-Etienne and Angers was delayed by around an hour due to a pitch invasion and flares launched into the pitch before kick-off.

On Saturday, Rennes welcomes Lorient in the only last 64 clash between the first division teams, while Lille play second division Auxerre and Clermont visit seventh division Nimes Chemin Bas in the most uneven match of the round.

Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain visit Feignies Aulnoye, fifth division on Sunday.


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