FIFA probes Ivory Coast, Senegal crowd trouble


Geneva (AFP) – FIFA said Tuesday it had launched an investigation into incidents which led to the abandonment of a friendly match between Ivory Coast and Senegal in Paris following a series of pitch invasions.

The sides were level at 1-1 late Monday when French referee Tony Chapron called off the match in the 88th minute as fans from both sides flooded onto the pitch.

Images showed rowdy supporters chasing across the pitch after climbing over fences while one fan was seen tackling a player in the middle of the pitch.

“We are currently analysing and gathering information concerning the incidents, “a FIFA spokesman said.

He added that “should it be considered appropriate, disciplinary proceedings may be opened”.

The match’s organisers told AFP that problems started arising when some supporters made their way from the stand behind the substitutes bench to the opposite tribune, which was originally meant to be left empty.

The first pitch invasion, by just around a dozen supporters, happened as the two teams returned from the changing rooms after half-time.

Security at the stadium was unable to cope, even less so with further incidents of fans spilling onto the pitch.

“The only lesson we can learn from all this is that it’s quite difficult to organise matches in the Paris region for such prestigious teams,” said the organisers.

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane had given Senegal the lead on 67 minutes from the penalty spot but Fulham’s Cyriac Gohi Bi equalised for the Ivorians just four minutes later.

But after the latest in a series of pitch invasions, Chapron had had enough and the game was brought to a premature end.

The game came just three days after Ivory Coast won 2-0 in Russia.

In the Charlety stadium in the south of Paris, the Elephants were watched by former Belgium coach Marc Wilmots, who will assume his coaching duties with Ivory Coast on April 1.

African World Cup qualifying resumes in August with Ivory Coast two points clear of Morocco and Gabon at the top of Group C with four points after two games and Senegal a point behind Burkina Faso and South Africa in Group D.

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