Sampaoli says Marseille game should have been halted after violence

Marseille (AFP) – Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli said on Friday that the Europa League match against Galatasaray should have “been stopped” after the incidents in the stands interrupted play.  

“I think the game should have been stopped. If we continue like this, we show that this violence is part of the game, that we get used to it. We have to make sure that families can come to the stadium in peace,” said Sampaoli in a press conference.

The match was delayed by five minutes late in the first half on Thursday as projectiles, including fireworks and smokebombs, were lobbed from the end of the Stade Velodrome where fans of the Turkish club were grouped, officials said.

There were also clashes between rival sets of fans before calm was restored.

Further incidents broke out after the final whistle.

Four police officers were injured, according to a spokeswoman for the police headquarters. 

Five fans, three Turkish and two for the home team, were arrested for possession and use of pyrotechnic devices, she said.

“It’s very strange. You wonder why people come from so far away to provoke or throw firecrackers. They prefer to create this spectacle rather than watch the pitch,” said Sampaoli. 

“The fairest thing would be to make decisions that leave the violence outside. Otherwise it will become something normal and the field will become secondary. We have seen very violent things, firecrackers, insults. It’s a shame what happened,” concluded the Argentine coach. 

In France, there has been a rise in violent incidents in Ligue 1 this season and Marseille has been involved more than once.

Their match in Nice in was abandoned after Marseille refused to continue following a pitch invasion. The game will be replayed on October 27 in Troyes.

Fighting between fans and fireworks also marred Marseille’s visit to Angers on September 22.

The same evening a bus carrying Bordeaux fans was attacked in Montpellier.

On September 18, Lens fans invaded the pitch during their local derby with Lille.

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