France’s Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said repeated public problems threatened the future of football in the country after the Olympic Lyon match against Olympique Marseille was suspended due to fan riots.
Maracineanu added that everyone should understand that the continuation of French football is at stake after the French league has witnessed many riots this season, warning of the kind of incidents that pose a threat to the financial situation of professional football in the country. The match was canceled about two hours after referee Rudy Bouquet stopped the confrontation in the fifth minute after a crowd threw a bottle of water that hit Marseille’s Dimitri Payet’s head. The stadium’s internal broadcaster initially said the match would be completed on the decision of the local authorities in Lyon. But the Ligue 1 immediately criticized the move and in a statement called an emergency meeting of the disciplinary committee. The Association is likely to announce preliminary sanctions pending the results of investigations, which may take at least two weeks.