Sports minister warns crowd violence is threatening ‘survival’ of French football

November 24 – France’s sports minister Roxana Maracineanu (pictured) says repeated crowd trouble at Ligue 1 matches is putting the very survival of French football at risk.

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

The players left the field and the game was eventually abandoned more than 90 minutes later.

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

At least nine matches have been disrupted during the 2021/22 season so far.

“Everyone must understand that it’s the survival of French soccer that’s at stake,” Maracineanu told France Info, warning broadcast rights could be affected.

“It’s a world where millions of euros are at stake. We can’t afford for a broadcaster who has bought rights to have to fill the blank like [the commentators] did last night for an hour when we don’t know if the game is going to continue. We can’t collectively afford to have it go on like that.”

“We have helped the [football] world during the health crisis to allow the return of fans in the stadiums, we cannot allow things like that to happen.”

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