Soccer-Lille fans banned from going to Marseille due to fears of violence

PARIS (Reuters) – French club Lille said on Friday that their fans had been banned from travelling to Marseille this weekend, due to fears of crowd trouble after hooligans forced last week’s match between Olympique de Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais to be abandoned.

“If the authorities finally decided this morning that they would not be able to guarantee the safety of the 250 Lille supporters who had planned to travel to Marseille, Lille must take note of the decision to protect its supporters from any potential trouble,” said Lille in a statement.

Marseille host Lille on Saturday evening at Stade Velodrome, but last Sunday’s game at the same venue between Marseille and Lyon – two of the country’s most successful clubs – had to be abandoned after some of the worst soccer violence in France in recent years.

Lyon’s team bus was pelted with stones, injuring coach Fabio Grosso. Photos of Grosso, a 2006 World Cup winner with Italy, with blood on his face made the front page of sports paper L’Equipe, accompanied by the headline ‘Disgusting and Shameful’.

Lyon fans were meanwhile televised making Nazi salutes at the game. Both Marseille and Lyon condemned the hooligan elements among their supporters.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Christian Radnedge)