Soccer-Lyon boss suggests injured player be replaced amid crowd violence

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Olympique Lyonnais v Olympique de Marseille - Groupama Stadium, Lyon, France - November 21, 2021 Fans leaving the stadium after Olympique de Marseille's Dimitri Payet was hit by a water bottle thrown by a fan, causing the match to be suspended REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas suggested that a player could be replaced by an extra substitute so that matches are not abandoned amid a debate on crowd violence in Ligue 1 stadiums.

The French League (LFP) is set to rule on the Lyon v Olympique de Marseille game that was abandoned two weeks ago after Marseille's Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle thrown from the stands with Aulas criticising the referee's decision to call off the match.

"To avoid wrongly abandoning a game we could allow clubs to replace a potentially injured player: give the possibility to stay with 11 men as in the case of a concussion (6th substitute)

"Maybe even that could encourage the injured player to resume (the game)?," Aulas wrote on Twitter, replying to a tweet on the topic, copying in the French federation and the LFP.

His Marseille counterpart Pablo Longoria said he was against the game, which was stopped after five minutes, being replayed.

"If every time a match is interrupted, it has to be replayed... In the world of European soccer, the reaction for 90% of the people is to ask for a game lost to the team whose fans have misbehaved," Longoria told sports daily L'Equipe on Tuesday.

"I don't think that empowering a spectator to influence the outcome of a game is a good idea for sports fairness either."

Ligue 1 has been marred by fan violence this season.

Nice were docked two points, one of them suspended, after serious incidents during their game in August against Marseille, whose players clashed with home fans who pelted them with missiles and stormed onto the pitch.

The northern derby between RC Lens and Lille was hit by crowd problems in September, with the start of the second half delayed after rival fans threw objects at each other before people ran onto the pitch, prompting riot police and stewards to intervene.

There has also been crowd trouble in Montpellier, Angers, Marseille and St Etienne.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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