Sunday’s Ligue 1 meeting between Nice and Marseille had to be abandoned late in the game after fans burst through the security barricades to brawl with the players on the pitch.
The Nice supporters had been doing their best to wind up the Marseille squad all game, but tensions boiled over in the 74th minute when Dimitri Payet was hit by a water bottle thrown from the crowd. The former West Ham man launched it back where it came from, sparking an all-out brawl.
Fans of the home side came charging towards the pitch to confront Payet and other Marseille players, many of whom had rushed over to defend their teammate, and the sheer number of supporters involved saw the security barrier collapse and led to chaos on the field.
Players were fighting each other and fans were doing their best to get involved in the ruckus, and things turned very ugly very quickly. Marseille duo Matteo Guendouzi and Luan Peres were pictured with what appeared to be strangle marks around their necks.
The players were eventually ushered down the tunnel while security tried to calm things down, at which point those in charge tried to get the game restarted.
Nice, who were leading 1-0 at the time, re-emerged in the hope of finishing the game, but Marseille refused to come back out and instead demanded the game be abandoned.
“Our players were attacked,” said Marseille president Pablo Longoria. “The league wanted the match to restart. We decided for the safety of our players, who were attacked during the pitch invasion, not to resume because the safety of our players was not guaranteed.
“The referee was with us, he confirmed to Jorge Sampaoli and me that safety was not guaranteed and decided to stop the game.”
The carnage comes just one week after Marseille’s clash with Montpellier had to be halted late on when players from both sides were also hit with projectiles from the stands.
“It is already the second time, we have experienced this in Montpellier,” said Longoria. “We had decided what happened today is completely unacceptable. We must set a precedent for French football by taking a stand.”