Fan violence in the stands caused a delay in the UEFA Europa Conference League matchup between OGC Nice and FC Köln.

Footage inside the Allianz Riviera Stadium showed hectic scenes. Opposing fans fought each other and shot flares back and forth. Moreover, a fan was pushed from the stands, all before the game kicked off.

Early reports suggest at least 18 people suffered injuries. One of those is an ‘absolute emergency.’ Match organizers made the decision to delay the game over the stadium’s intercom.

Fan violence between Köln and OGC Nice

The German club’s official Twitter account made a statement condemning the actions by the fans.

A video of the Köln away end shows hooligans entering the section, with one fan wearing what appears to be a Borussia Dortmund balaclava.

Also, Köln captain Jonas Hector took to the microphone inside the stadium. He pleaded with his team’s fans to stop the violence.

“We’re really keen to play the game with you,” stated the German international.  “We also want the game to happen. But, we have to say that we don’t approve of this. We don’t like to see it at all.”

“We worked our butt off on this last year and in the playoff games. And we would love to do that with you and that’s why I’m asking you: keep your nerve, stay calm, support us as best as you can.”

“That’s what the club wants, too. That we stand together and in peace just celebrate football and not violence.  Thank you.”

The match finally got underway in France after the delay. OGC Nice made their return to a European tournament after missing out last season. Köln, on the other hand, played their first UEFA game since their disappointing third-place finish in the 2017/18 Europa League group stage.

Ultimately, the match between OGC Nice and Köln ended in a 1-1 draw.

PHOTO: IMAGO / PanoramiC