Nice authorities announce stand closure and arrest after abandoned Marseille game

Nice authorities announce stand closure and arrest after abandoned Marseille game
Fans invade the pitch during French L1 match between Nice and Marseille at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice on Sunday. Game was halted when home fans angrily confronted player Dimitri Payet. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 23 August 2021

Nice authorities announce stand closure and arrest after abandoned Marseille game

Nice authorities announce stand closure and arrest after abandoned Marseille game
  • Popular South stand at Allianz Riviera in Nice would be closed after fans threw projectiles
  • Nice supporters invaded the pitch and confronted Marseille's Dimitri Payet

PARIS: Local authorities in Nice on Monday ordered a four-match stand closure and local police arrested a man as investigations continued into the ugly incidents which led to the abandonment of Nice’s weekend Ligue 1 match with Marseille.
The prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes department said the Popular South stand at the Allianz Riviera in Nice would be closed after fans threw projectiles which led to serious incidents on Sunday during the Nice-Marseille fixture.
“In view of the seriousness of the incidents that occurred, and without waiting for the sanctions to be decided by the professional football league (LFP), the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes has taken the following decisions this evening: closure of the Populaire Sud stand where the incidents occurred for the next four home matches,” wrote prefect Bernard Gonzalez in a statement.
Nice supporters invaded the pitch and confronted Marseille’s Dimitri Payet, who had thrown a bottle lobbed at him back into the crowd. A brawl then broke out involving players and spectators.
A 28-year-old man suspected of attacking a Marseille player was arrested and taken into custody on Monday evening, police and judicial sources told AFP.
The man was presumably a fan of the home team, the Nice prosecutor, Xavier Bonhomme, told AFP.
Earlier his office announced that it had opened several investigations, notably for “throwing projectiles” and “aggravated violence.”
The (LFP) released a short statement saying it had summoned the two clubs to a hearing on Wednesday and “strongly condemned the violence.”
The hosts were leading the Mediterranean derby 1-0 when the game was interrupted in the 75th minute as Payet threw a bottle back into the crowd as team-mates came across to remonstrate with Nice fans behind the goal.
Supporters streamed onto the pitch and a melee began involving players, staff, fans and stewards. Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli had to be restrained by members of his own staff.
The match was halted for over an hour and finally abandoned after Marseille refused to return to the pitch.
In farcical scenes, the Nice players came back out and the referee placed the ball by the corner flag where the game had been stopped, before blowing his whistle.
The league said it aligned itself with local authorities who wanted to restart the game “to guarantee public order.”
The LFP must decide whether to replay the game or award Nice a victory because Marseille refused to return to the pitch.
“The league wanted the match to restart. We decided for the safety of our players, who were attacked during the pitch invasion, not to resume,” said Marseille president Pablo Longoria, adding the referee “was with us” and decided to stop the game.
Nice, meanwhile, blamed Marseille for fanning the flames.
“While nothing can excuse the actions of a few individuals guilty of throwing bottles...there is no doubt that it was the attitude and actions of several members of Olympique de Marseille that saw the incident escalate out of control,” Nice said in a statement.
They claimed one Marseille assistant coach knocked out a supporter who “remains in hospital” and said two Nice players — Justin Kluivert and Jean-Clair Todidbo — were attacked by Marseille security staff.
“One should not overlook the provocative actions of several Marseille players in the first half which only added to tensions around the stadium.”
There were also reports of incidents in the VIP box involving the presidents of the two clubs.
The match was attended by over 32,000 fans with spectators allowed back inside stadiums in France after almost all of last season was played out behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions.
Politicians called for punishments to be handed out to those responsible.
Roxana Maracineanu, France’s Minister Delegate in charge of sport, said those guilty should be punished “if we can find them...I think there needs to be punishments for the club in question.”
Christian Estrosi, the center-right mayor of Nice, got involved too, tweeting: “Violence is always intolerable. There must be punishments after (the league) has determined who was responsible.”
“The behavior of some supporters was unspeakable but so was that of the Marseille president in the stands and the coach on the field,” he added.


Tsitsipas survives world No. 66 Musetti in marathon five-setter as French Open clouded by Wimbledon row

Tsitsipas survives world No. 66 Musetti in marathon five-setter as French Open clouded by Wimbledon row
Updated 14 sec ago

Tsitsipas survives world No. 66 Musetti in marathon five-setter as French Open clouded by Wimbledon row

Tsitsipas survives world No. 66 Musetti in marathon five-setter as French Open clouded by Wimbledon row
  • Tsitsipas came into the tournament on the back of a successful defense of his Monte Carlo title and a runner-up spot in Madrid
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a former Australian Open runner-up and world No. 5, bid an emotional goodbye to tennis after losing in the first round to Casper Ruud

PARIS: Stefanos Tsitsipas came back from the brink to reach the French Open second round as Roland Garros was again overshadowed by the crisis engulfing Wimbledon.

Fourth seed and 2021 runner-up Tsitsipas defeated world No. 66 Lorenzo Musetti 5-7, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in a match which finished early Wednesday.

Greek star Tsitsipas triumphed as 20-year-old Musetti collapsed from the brink of a famous Paris win for the second year in succession.

Twelve months ago, the Italian took the first two sets against Novak Djokovic in the last 16 before injury forced a final set retirement.

He enjoyed a flying start when the night session first round tie started Tuesday, sweeping through the first two sets, out-hitting Tsitsipas just as he had done against Djokovic.

But then came the familiar power failure and Tsitsipas comfortably pocketed the next two sets.

Tsitsipas came into the tournament on the back of a successful defense of his Monte Carlo title and a runner-up spot in Madrid.

He was also on a season-leading 31 wins which became 32 in the decider courtesy of two more service breaks.

“It was positive and a good effort in the end. I wasn’t feeling very good in the first two sets, something was off with my game. Lorenzo wasn’t giving me any rhythm,” said the 23-year-old.

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev eased into the second round but could not escape the shadow of Wimbledon, the Grand Slam tournament where he has been declared persona non grata.

Medvedev routed Argentina’s 103rd-ranked Facundo Bagnis 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 on the back of 35 winners.

“I love Roland Garros, especially since last year,” said Medvedev, who had lost in the opening round on his first four trips before reaching the quarter-finals in 2021. “I hope this year I can go further.”

One place he will not be going, however, is the All England Club next month after Wimbledon banned all Russian and Belarusian players in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The ATP and WTA responded by stripping the sport’s most prestigious tournament of ranking points.

One day after former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka revealed she was “leaning toward not playing” Wimbledon while defending champion Novak Djokovic said he will play despite losing 2,000 points, the controversy showed no signs of abating.

“I will go there to get my prize money, as I would for an exhibition tournament,” said Frenchman Benoit Paire after a 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 loss to Ilya Ivashka.

Claiming that “99 percent” of players want a Wimbledon with points, he added: “I’m sorry for Russia and Russians, but they are the ones causing all the trouble.”

Denis Shapovalov, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2021, said he objected both to the ban and the decision to strip the points.

“I think they could have gone with it a different way, maybe keep 50 percent like they have in the past,” said the Canadian.

The biggest loser on the women’s side will be Karolina Pliskova who will drop the 1,000 points by finishing runner-up to the now retired Ashleigh Barty in 2021.

She too wants 50 percent of the points to be retained. She intends to return to the All England Club.

“If you love the game you’re still going to go and play,” said 2017 Paris semifinalist Pliskova after making the second round by beating Tessah Andrianjafitrimo 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Russia’s Andrey Rublev, the world No. 7, described the atmosphere as “toxic” after seeing off South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in his Roland Garros opener.

Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a former Australian Open runner-up and world No. 5, bid an emotional goodbye to tennis after losing in the first round to Casper Ruud.

The 37-year-old Frenchman was beaten 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 7-6 (7/0) by the Norwegian eighth seed.

“I hope the world can soon find as much peace I found today. Thank you Roland Garros. Thank you Mister Tennis. I love you,” said Tsonga.

Elsewhere, 19-year-old Holger Rune of Denmark marked his main draw debut with a 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) dismissal of 14th-seeded Shapovalov who committed 53 unforced errors.

Spanish third seed Paula Badosa, a quarterfinalist last year, swept into the second round with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over French wildcard Fiona Ferro while 2018 champion.

Simona Halep, the 2018 champion, defeated Germany’s Nastasja Schunk, an 18-year-old lucky loser from qualifying, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.


Jan Hirt wins stage 16 of Giro, Richard Carapaz retains overall lead

Jan Hirt wins stage 16 of Giro, Richard Carapaz retains overall lead
Updated 25 May 2022

Jan Hirt wins stage 16 of Giro, Richard Carapaz retains overall lead

Jan Hirt wins stage 16 of Giro, Richard Carapaz retains overall lead
  • Wednesday’s 17th stage is a 168-kilometer run between Ponte di Legno and Lavarone which features two top category climbs — Vetriolo and the Menador — in the final 50km

APRICA, Italy: Czech rider Jan Hirt took the 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday to claim his first-ever Grand Tour win, while Richard Carapaz held on to his slender overall lead after a brutal mountain stage.

The 31-year-old Intermarche rider attacked two kilometers before the summit of the final of three huge climbs on the 202km run from Salo to Aprica and held off chaser Thymen Arensman for the win.

Hirt’s stage win was by far the biggest of his career and added to his overall victory at the Tour of Oman this year.

“When people ask me what I want to do with cycling I say that I want to win one stage on the Giro and then I can stop my career,” Hirt joked after the win.

“So now I am happy but I don’t want to stop now.”

Hirt had been chasing Lennard Kamna after the Bora-Hansgrohe rider made a run for it just before the start of the final Santa Cristina ascent.

However, he and Arensman caught Kamna within the closing 10km and Hirt then made his charge for the line in wet Aprica after wrestling with mechanical problems in the last kilometers.

“He (Kamna) had a good advantage on us and it was looking quite difficult but I had to try,” added Hirt.

“I had quite difficult moments on the stage... in the last climb I had a problem with the bike it wasn’t shifting very well, it was jumping my chain.

“I was suffering so much and had all these problems but I wanted the win so bad I held on till the end.”

Olympic road race champion Carapaz retained the pink jersey after crossing just over a minute later alongside Mikel Landa and Jai Hindley.

Carapaz responded alongside Hindley when Landa pushed out from the group of general classification contenders with 10km left.

Hindley cut Carapaz’s already slim lead to just three seconds after winning four bonus seconds on the finish line, while Joao Almeida dropped time and is now 44 seconds back in third.

Meanwhile, home hope Vincenzo Nibali has jumped from eighth to fifth place, 3mins 40sec from top spot on this last Giro.

“It was a tough day for us. I’m happy in the end I think to have only lost four seconds is OK. We managed to keep hold of the jersey which is the most important thing,” said Carapaz.

Wednesday’s 17th stage is a 168-kilometer run between Ponte di Legno and Lavarone which features two top category climbs — Vetriolo and the Menador — in the final 50km.


Jurgen Klopp named Premier League Manager of the Year

Jurgen Klopp named Premier League Manager of the Year
Updated 25 May 2022

Jurgen Klopp named Premier League Manager of the Year

Jurgen Klopp named Premier League Manager of the Year
  • The German also collected the Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy, named in honor of the celebrated former Manchester United boss, which is voted for by the full membership of managers across all the divisions in English senior football

LONDON: Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp has been named the League Managers’ Association Premier League Manager of the Year, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Reds won both the English League Cup and FA Cup, beating Chelsea in penalty shootouts at Wembley on both occasions.

But Liverpool lost out on the Premier League title to Manchester City by just a point after both Klopp’s men and Pep Guardiola’s side won their respective matches on Sunday’s final day of a thrilling campaign.

Klopp, collecting his accolade at the LMA Awards dinner in London on Tuesday, said: “It is a great honor and it was an insane season.

“The last matchday when only two games were meaningless and in the rest, we all played for absolutely everything.

“It was not the best outcome for us, but we are already over it.”

The German, paying tribute to his backroom team, added: “When you win a prize like this you are either a genius or you have the best coaching staff in the world — and I am here with all of my coaching staff, they know how much I appreciate them.”

Klopp also collected the Sir Alex Ferguson Trophy, named in honor of the celebrated former Manchester United boss, which is voted for by the full membership of managers across all the divisions in English senior football.

“This being voted for by my colleagues is obviously the most important prize you can get,” Klopp said.

“I don’t believe in individual prizes in football generally, it is a team sport and I would be nothing without these boys there.

“It is all about what we can do together and what we did together.”

Liverpool may have been denied an unprecedented quadruple by City, but they will now try to add the Champions League to their impressive trophy haul this season when they face Real Madrid in a Paris final on Saturday.


Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea

Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea
Updated 24 May 2022

Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea

Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea
  • A consortium led by Todd Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a record £4.25bn deal to buy the club from Roman Abramovich
  • Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

LONDON: Todd Boehly’s proposed takeover of Chelsea moved a step closer to completion on Tuesday when the Premier League board announced it had approved his purchase of the London club in a deal that could yet be finalized later in the day.
A consortium led by Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a record £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) deal to buy the Premier League club from owner Roman Abramovich on May 7.
And a Premier League statement said Tuesday: “The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium.
“The purchase remains subject to the (British) Government issuing the required sale license and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.”
Officials would like everything to be wrapped up on Tuesday so Chelsea can meet all registration deadlines for next season’s competitions, with an unnamed Government source telling Britain’s Press Association: “We now believe everyone will be ready to issue the necessary licenses.
“The last remaining hurdle boils down to a number of final technical details that are being discussed with the club. It’s going to go down to the wire.”
Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Completing the purchase has been a lengthy process due to government concerns over the potential for Abramovich to profit from the sale.
The total value of the deal smashes the previous record for the sale of a sports team — $2.4 billion for the New York Mets baseball franchise in 2020.
There had been fears the takeover would collapse because of the £1.5 billion debt owed by Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd, to Camberley International Investments, a Jersey-based company with suspected links to Abramovich.
Abramovich, who has said he has not asked for his loan to be repaid, is understood to have provided confirmation to the government that his associate, Demetris Ioannides, has resigned from the trust owning Camberley International.
Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government were working with Chelsea and also holding “intense discussions with the relevant international partners” to get the deal done.
“We want to get this process done as soon as possible while also ensuring the sanctions regime is protected, but we will say more on this as soon as we possibly can,” the spokesman also said.
The Premier League statement added: “The board has applied the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.
“The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter.
“Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant governments to secure the necessary licenses to complete the takeover.”
Chelsea have been forced to operate under a special license from the UK government since Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003, was sanctioned.
Under the terms of the license, Chelsea were unable to offer new contracts to existing players or sign players from other clubs.
The sale of the European champions brings the curtain down on 19 years of nearly unbroken success under the 55-year-old Abramovich, who has overseen five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.
Chelsea finished third in the 2021/22 Premier League season completed Sunday and so gained a place in Europe’s Champions League, the continent’s leading club football competition.
The Blues also reached the finals of English football’s League Cup and FA Cup, only to lose both matches to Liverpool in penalty shoot-outs.


Futures of Newcastle United squad to be decided this week by Eddie Howe

Futures of Newcastle United squad to be decided this week by Eddie Howe
Updated 24 May 2022

Futures of Newcastle United squad to be decided this week by Eddie Howe

Futures of Newcastle United squad to be decided this week by Eddie Howe
  • Isaac Hayden and loan signing Matt Targett look to be on the way out with others expected to join them
  • Newcastle are assessing their options on the left with Atletico Madrid and Brazil defender Renan Lodi in the frame

NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has revealed he will sit down with his Newcastle United stars this week to decide their future plans — but Matt Targett looks to be a player heading for the exit.

It is certain to be a summer of transition at St James’ Park as the club’s owners and Howe get to grips with altered ambitions and expectations.

While Howe is keen to downplay any immediate talk of European qualification, for those at the top, and on the terraces, it cannot come soon enough.

What is in no doubt, though, is the aim to stay in the Premier League, Howe’s primary task when taking the role, has been binned in favor of a more progressive target.

And with that, more forward-thinking aim, change is likely in the dressing room.

While Howe will jet off on a family break in the next seven days to rest and recuperate after the stresses and strains of an arduous top flight campaign, he will not do so without sorting what comes next for his players — and for the club.

“I will be speaking to all of the players, in different ways, whether that be in face-to-face meetings or by the phone. And I will be setting out my plans for next season,” said Howe.

“Look, (the planning) it starts now, as you have to, as the Premier League moves so quickly and the competition is so strong. You have to try and be ahead of the game.

“We will try to be sensible about what we do this summer. We know it is a big time for us.”

Arab News understands the Magpies have a striker at the very top of their summer wishlist, but will look to strengthen in a number of other key areas. A central defender, another wide forward, a goalkeeper and a left-back being the most pressing departments.

And while Newcastle looked to have tied down a Premier League-ready left-back in Targett, the Aston Villa defender’s future on Tyneside is far from certain.

The January loan signing was a revelation during the rise from the foot of the Premier League to an eventual 11th-placed finish. That has led many to believe a permanent deal will soon follow.

However, it is understood the player is not 100 percent convinced about staying, with clubs down south, particularly newly-promoted Fulham keen.

When asked about Targett, Howe said: “I think it is a difficult one to give you any direction on, we will wait and see.”

Newcastle are assessing their options on the left with Atletico Madrid and Brazil defender Renan Lodi a player who has attracted admiring glances in recent months.

One saga that appears closer to conclusion is that of midfielder Sean Longstaff, whose contract comes to an end in June.

“I would anticipate it would come to a positive conclusion,” Howe said, when quizzed on talks over a new deal.

With Longstaff set to stay, others will be allowed to leave in what looks to be an increasingly-congested midfield area for Newcastle.

Isaac Hayden, left out of the 25-man Premier League squad from January onwards due to injury, has hinted at a summer exit via an emotional social media post.

On Twitter, he said: “Another season completed. Started poorly, ended on fire. Takeover tick, future is bright for this great club. Personally my toughest in pro football but everything happens for a reason. Thank you for your incredible support this season and over the last 6 years.”

Tough-tackling Hayden is a popular player with the United fanbase and has been with the club since the English Championship title-winning season of 2016/17.