UEFA suspends Evra until June 2018 for kicking Marseille fan
UEFA suspends Evra until June 2018 for kicking Marseille fan
Evra was suspended from “all UEFA club competition matches” until June 30 and must pay a fine of 10,000 euros ($11,650).
Evra got into a verbal argument with Marseille supporters before the match against Portuguese club Vitoria on Nov. 2. He then aimed a kick at the head of one of the Marseille fans before being ushered away by a teammate.
The 36-year-old France defender was sent off before the game.
Marseille, which has opened its own internal investigation into the incident, said in a statement shortly after UEFA’s announcement that it has ended Evra’s contract with “immediate effect.”
Evra committed an “irreparable” act by “responding to the disgraceful provocations of a handful of individuals,” the club said on its website, adding the decision was taken by “mutual consent.”
Marseille said it intended to punish fans for the type of misconduct they showed toward Evra, but did not specify whether it would punish those who had insulted the former France defender.
Marseille is well-known for having a powerful fan base that can exert pressure on the club and players alike.
“There’s a lot of sadness today. First of all for Patrice Evra, who has obviously understood all the consequences of his act and that he can no longer fulfill his passion (of playing) for Marseille,” club president Jacques-Henri Eyraud said. “For Marseille fans, too, who are stigmatized by the irresponsible behavior from a handful of them.”
Before last Sunday’s home game against Caen, fans made it clear to Evra he was no longer welcome at the club, holding aloft two banners criticizing the player before the match at Stade Velodrome.
“This Game Is Over,” read one banner in English, mocking Evra’s regular posts on social media where he films himself talking about soccer and says “I love this game” as he breaks into laughter.
Former European Cup champion Marseille, the only French club to win the Champions League, was also charged with invasion of the field by its fans, setting off fireworks, and acts of damages. It must pay Vitoria 25,000 euros ($29,000) within 30 days.
Aussie ace Matt Jurman says Slaven Bilic will get Al-Ittihad ‘back where they belong’
- Al-Ittihad defender Matt Jurman has backed Slaven Bilic to turn things around for the club
- A disastrous start to the season has left Al-Ittihad rock bottom of the Saudi Pro League table
KUWAIT CITY: Al-Ittihad defender Matt Jurman has backed Slaven Bilic to turn things around for the club, predicting his new coach can inject some much-needed confidence into the team.
A disastrous start to the season has left Al-Ittihad rock bottom of the Saudi Pro League table with one draw and four losses from their opening five games.
Ramon Diaz was sacked as coach after just two matches, with Bilic (below) parachuted in three weeks ago to replace the Argentine.
The first game of his reign ended in defeat away to Al-Fateh and on Friday they drew 1-1 at home with Ohod, but Australian Jurman, who moved to Al-Ittihad from Suwon Bluewings in the summer, believes it is only a matter of time before Bilic transforms the club’s fortunes.
“It’s not a situation I’ve seen before, a coach being sacked after only two games,” Jurman told Arab News. “It shows that it is cut-throat here but the players and coaches have to respond positively to that pressure.
“A club the size of Al-Ittihad has to be winning games and I think that Bilic and his coaching staff will take us in the right direction. It’s mentally tough when you keep losing, but we have great players in the team and we know we should be higher than where we are.
“We just need more belief and I certainly feel the new coach will give us that. Then I’m sure we’ll shoot up the table.”
On a personal level, Jurman now has the opportunity to work with a coach who enjoyed a distinguished career playing in his position. An uncompromising center-back, Bilic reached the World Cup semifinals with Croatia in 1998 and also played in the Premier League with Everton and West Ham.
“He’s right up there with the best coaches in the league and of course was a great player,” Jurman said. “Obviously he played in my position so I’m excited to learn from him and I’m sure he can help make me a better player.
“It’s been a difficult start to the season but now we can look forward and I’m sure that the new coach and his staff are going to get us back on track.”
Jurman made a bold career move by deciding to swap Suwon Bluewings for Al-Ittihad in July after a successful 18-month stint in South Korea.
But despite the tough introduction to life in Saudi football, the Australia international insisted he has no regrets.
“It’s been a big change coming to Saudi Arabia. Training at night, the temperatures we’re playing in every week — these things take time to get used to. But it’s a great opportunity to experience a culture I’ve never seen before.
“It would have been easy to stay in Korea but when you get a call saying one of the biggest clubs in the Middle East are interested in you, it’s a no-brainer. I was told about the Pro League expansion, how they wanted more foreigners on each team.
“I knew I was going to play against quality players, quality strikers — I wanted to come and test myself.”
As well as enjoying the challenge on the pitch, Jurman has been particularly impressed by the fans off it, playing in front of some huge crowds at King Abdullah Sports City.
“Al-Ittihad is such a big club and even at our away games, our fans usually outnumber the home team. Seeing that type of support is fantastic. The fans are crazy, the best supporters I’ve seen.
“It seems you can’t go anywhere in Jeddah without finding an Al-Ittihad fan and that’s been eye-opening, to see just how much they love football in Saudi Arabia.”
Jurman was not the only Australian to arrive in Saudi Arabia this summer, with Socceroos goalkeeper Brad Jones moving to Al-Nassr from Feyenoord.
And after fellow Aussie Mark Milligan’s summer departure from Al-Ahli, Jurman has been grateful to have another compatriot to speak to.
“I chatted to Mark after our last game in Russia at the World Cup and he helped me make up my mind to move here. He was living in Jeddah too so it was a real shame that he left soon after. The new coach came in there and that’s how it works sometimes in football.
“Now Brad is here too and that’s been great. We’re always chatting on WhatsApp, talking about life and how we’re settling in. It’s always good to have that kind of support.
“Unfortunately for me, Brad’s team is flying at the moment. But I’m sure that before long we’ll turn things round at Al-Ittihad and then we can both be up there.”