The Ligue 1 fixture between Marseille and Lyon was abandoned just before kick-off after the latter side’s team bus sustained damage pre-match, causing injury to their head coach Fabian Grosso.
Lyon owner John Textor told broadcaster Amazon Prime France that Grosso had sustained head injuries and was bleeding, caused by shattered glass.
Textor, though, said Lyon did not ask to cancel the match and that decision was instead taken by the league. An official statement from the LFP (Ligue de Football Professionnel) contradicts this.
Referee Francois Letexier said in a press conference after the decision had been taken, there had been a crisis meeting, and that the LFP protocol states when a participant is injured and their participation is affected, there are grounds to abandon the match.
“During the crisis unit meeting following the incidents that occurred outside the Velodrome stadium on the route of its bus, Olympique Lyonnais made known its opposition to taking part in the meeting given the circumstances,” an LFP statement read.
“In consultation with Olympique de Marseille and the public authorities, the OM-OL meeting will therefore not be played this evening at 8:45 p.m (local time).
“It will now be up to the Competitions Commission to decide on the fate of this meeting by application of article 544 of the competition regulations.”
Marseille released a statement later on Sunday night condemning the incident.
“Olympique de Marseille deplores the unacceptable incidents which took place this evening around the Orange Velodrome stadium, against the professional team bus as well as Olympique Lyonnais supporter buses,” it read.
“The club wishes a speedy recovery to Lyon coach Fabio Grosso and strongly condemns this violent behaviour which has no place in the world of football and in society.”
Textor gave an interview to Amazon on the pitch at the Stade Veledrome, after the match had been abandoned.
“No (we didn’t ask to cancel the match),” Textor said. “Very quickly after it happened, we had a team meeting. The league let us know, we asked them, they would talk as a team.
“They would come together and take a decision independently of our request, independently of that of Marseille — of course, they would listen to us.
“Our team decided they would play. We wanted to play. They instructed me to go and tell the league we were ready to play.
“I’m obviously proud of the players for wanting to do that. It was emotional — we have a coach who’s got blood coming out of his head.
“He’s got pieces of glass stuck in his head. He must have taken some contact to his head, there was a bit more than shattering glass because he wasn’t really lucid. I think at that point, the decision was being made independently of us.
“I think the referee had an opinion, as I understand he wanted to look at this as if it was an incident that happened within the stadium. The decision was made, independently of us, to have him (Grosso) evaluated by medical (personnel).
“I have to tell you, it’s quite a shocking scene, to see all of this. The coach is still not in good shape, he clearly could not coach. I couldn’t even have a conversation with him. He looks bandaged and he’s had a great deal of physical injury but just trying to have a conversation with him, it looked like he had a concussion.
“At that point, our team was mixed. It’s not just an emotional, physical game, it’s a tactical game and this is not the way football should be played. As the night went on, I think our team supported the decision of the referee.”
Lyon have struggled this season and are 18th in Ligue 1. Grosso was appointed as their head coach after they parted company with Laurent Blanc in mid-September but has been unable to turn around their poor form, overseeing two draws and three defeats in his time in charge.
Marseille have also struggled for consistency and sit ninth, with three wins, three draws and three defeats from their nine league games. Marcelino resigned seven games into his spell as head coach, citing personal reasons, and was replaced by Gennaro Gattuso last month.
(Photo: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images)