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Marseille, Nice Game Abandoned as Fans Storm Pitch to Attack Players, Sparking Violent Brawl

Marseille's French midfielder Dimitri Payet (2nd L) reacts as players from OGC Nice (red and black jersey) and Olympique de Marseille (blue jersey) stop a fan invading the pitch trying to kick Payet during the French L1 football match between OGC Nice and Olympique de Marseille (OM) at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, southern France on August 22, 2021
© AFP 2021 / VALERY HACHE

A football match brought France into disgrace as chaos reigned supreme in the Ligue 1 clash between fierce rivals Marseille and Nice on Sunday. It turned out to be a dramatic night as a pitch invasion led to an ugly confrontation between the players and fans, resulting in the game being called off before completion.

Marseille's away game against Nice was marred by ugly scenes after the visiting team's star midfielder Dimitri Payet was confronted by home fans, leading to a mass brawl between spectators and officials as well as players.

The violent confrontation among the players, officials, and fans began soon after Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle thrown at him by Nice admirers before the French national player threw it back at the crowd in a fit of rage.

Tension prevailed inside the stadium as soon as the match began, with members of the crowd continuing to shower the Marseille players with expletive words throughout the contest. The environment began to heat up further after countless home fans began throwing projectiles at Marseille players.

But all hell broke loose when fans charged the field after Payet responded to their barrage of insults in the 75th minute, close to a corner flag.

Television footage showed a pitch invader lying on the ground just after being punched in the face by a Marseille staff member.

On the other hand, Nice President Jean-Pierre Rivere made appeals to the club's supporters over the Public Address system, but to no avail as the fight between the officials and the fans continued for some time.

The pitch invasion by Nice supporters and the subsequent riots on the ground forced the referee to suspend the game for 90 minutes before he blew the final whistle, announcing the abandonment of the match as Marseille's players refused to return from their dressing room.

When the game was abandoned, Nice were leading 1-0, thanks to Kasper Dolberg's goal in the first half.

While Nice had a slender 1-0 advantage at that stage, Marseille's act of defiance eventually cost them dearly as they suffered an automatic 3-0 loss as per Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) rules.

According to the BBC, a number of Marseille players suffered injuries during the melee.

"Our players were attacked", Marseille President Pablo Longoria said after the incident. "We decided for the safety of our players, who were attacked during the pitch invasion, not to resume the match because the safety of our players was not guaranteed. What happened today is completely unacceptable, we must set a precedent for French football", he added.

The mayor of Marseille, Benoit Payan, took to social media to back his players for not agreeing to the resumption of the game.

"Injured players, failing security: the match should never have been resumed. Sad decision. Proud of my team, which did not play along with this farce", he said on Twitter.

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