UEFA suspends Evra until June 2018 for kicking Marseille fan

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Marseille's Patrice Evra, third left, raises his foot trying to kick a man during a scuffle with Marseille supporters who trespassed into the field before the Europa League group I soccer match between Vitoria SC and Olympique de Marseille at the D. Afonso Henriques stadium in Guimaraes, Portugal, on Nov. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Luis Vieira)
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Olympique de Marseille fans hold a banner reading "You thought you were above the institution OM and its supporters. We don't want you wearing our colors. Evra get out!" prior to the start of the French L1 football match between Olympique de Marseille (OM) and Caen at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille on November 5, 2017. (AFP / BORIS HORVAT)
Updated 10 November 2017
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UEFA suspends Evra until June 2018 for kicking Marseille fan

NYON, Switzerland: Marseille defender Patrice Evra was suspended until June 2018 for kicking one his own team’s fans before a Europa League game, UEFA said Friday.
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.


Flying the flag for the Green Falcons in Russia

Saudi football fans, from left, Talal Obaid, Satam Sardid, Sultan Hawsawi and Ahmed Barnawi, in Moscow to support the Saudi national team. (AN photo)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Flying the flag for the Green Falcons in Russia

  • A group of motorcyclists is following the Saudi football team for their World Cup matches in 3 cities
  • Behind the bikers are Frankfurt, Brest, Moscow and Voronezh. They are staying now in Rostov-on-Don, where the Green Falcons will play their second match against Uruguay at Rostov Arena.

MOSCOW: To travel to Russia by motorcycle from Saudi Arabia: Risky and arduous? Well, to most, yes, but four brave men from the cities of Makkah and Madinah have just about done that, flying their motorbikes from Jeddah to Germany and driving to Russia from there.

They came up with the idea to support the Green Falcons — Saudi Arabia’s national football team — on their way to the 2018 FIFA World Cup by arranging an extraordinary motor rally from Jeddah to Russia. 

Their route follows the team to their group stage matches in three cities: From last Thursday’s opening in Moscow, to Wednesday’s game in Rostov-on-Don, and then to their third game in Volgograd next Monday.

To Ahmed Barnawi, Satam Sardidi and Sultan Hawsawi from Makkah and Talal Obaid from Madinah, their trip seemed quite adventurous. They did not know exactly what to expect. Nonetheless, they decided to go for it.

For their initiative, they got extraordinary support from Saudi Airlines and Cargo. “Saudia made a big effort to ship our bikes from Jeddah to Frankfurt and helped with the tickets,” said Barnawi, in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

After receiving that encouraging support, the four proceeded with planning the hotels and details of the route.

They started their ride from Frankfurt, heading to Russia through Poland and Belarus. They were impressed by the hospitality of the Belarusian people, who did not speak English but were helpful with “filling the customs forms,” Barnawi said. “They were wonderful.”

Entering Russia, the four were having some language barrier issues as well. But Russians used Google Translate to communicate. 

Now the four have adopted this practice. Since then, when they need anything from the Russians not speaking English, they use Google Translate and it works perfectly.

They knew “a little bit” about Russia before going, Barnawi said, but when they came to Russia “it was mad, really.”

Before going to Russia they were concerned about how Russians would receive them, if there would be racism and what their attitudes would be. But their worries were groundless. The motorcyclists said people are so friendly, they wave and give them a thumbs-up on the road.

At petrol stations, people are shocked to see them on their motorcycles, with the Saudi flags attached. They approach them in disbelief and ask about their trip. 

The four have been absolutely impressed by the country’s roads and highways. They have found that the weather in Russia is not as cold as it is believed, although it is not hot.

Entering Moscow they got “surprised by the huge buildings, wide streets.” 

Upon their arrival, they visited the Saudi Embassy in Russia and met Saudi Ambassador Raed bin Khaled Qarmali, who received them with a warm welcome. They were served tea and coffee in the reception hall and asked to share their stories and impressions.

For the first game between Russia and Saudi Arabia, they tried to enter the area of the stadium on their motorbikes, but it was not allowed by the authorities.

“We understand that maybe it was because of security issues,” said Barnawi. “We did not go to the stadium. We went to a coffee shop to watch the game on a TV.”

“The first game we did not play,” said Barnawi, giving his take on the first match between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which the Green Falcons lost 5-0.

“It was a big issue for the supporters. But we never give up, you know. We close this subject, we look forward to the next game and we are going to play it better than before. And I hope that our team will do a better job, and we will win or break even,” Barnawi continued.

Because of all the time spent on the road, the Fantastic Four do not have much of a chance to follow other countries’ games. They succeeded in watching some while mapping out the next day’s route.

Nevertheless, the four bikers are enjoying the atmosphere of the World Cup and the football euphoria that surrounds it, saying that the whole event “is just amazing, it is awesome.” 

Behind them are Frankfurt, Brest, Moscow and Voronezh. They are staying now in Rostov-on-Don, where the Green Falcons will play their second match against Uruguay at Rostov Arena. After that, they will go to Volgograd, where the team will play Egypt. They do not plan now for what will come next, hoping only for the best for the Saudi team.

Decoder

Russian phrases for Saudi visitors

While Russians use Google Translate to communicate, here are some phrases that may come in handy for those visiting the country during the FIFA World Cup. I’m from Saudi Arabia. Ya is Saudovskoy Aravii. How do I reach the stadium? Kak proyti k stadionu? What’s the score? Kakoy schet? I’m rooting/cheering for the team of Saudi Arabia! Ja boleju za komandu Saudovskoy Aravii! Congratulations! Pozdravlyau!