France’s Ligue 1 was forced to postpone a match between Olympique de Marseille and Stade Rennes F.C., after fans of Marseille stormed the team’s training grounds hours before it was slated to start. Scenes out of the big protest were pretty terrifying.
Marseille FC has struggled in recent weeks. After three straight Ligue 1 losses, the team finds itself down at seventh place on the table. It also lost the Trophée des Champions final against Paris Saint-Germain on Jan. 13.
Still, mid-season struggles are obviously no excuse for what we saw today. According to RMC Sport, around 400 Marseille supporters marched on the facility, with a few managing to break in. Some used flares and firecrackers during the demonstration.
“This strong tension among Marseille supporters had been growing for several weeks,” the French outlet wrote, via Google Translate. “Blame it on the disappointing sporting results obtained so far. In the Champions League, OM came close to the most total humiliation by conceding five defeats in six games.”
— Fada de l'OM (@fadadelomm) January 30, 2021
🚨 Les images exclusives du coup de force des supporters marseillais au centre d'entrainement Robert-Louis-Dreyfus. Un arbre a pris feu, 25 personnes ont été interpelées par la police. pic.twitter.com/XIVEalZoRQ
— RMC Sport (@RMCsport) January 30, 2021
Le chaos à l’entrée de la Commanderie. 💥
— Actu Foot (@ActuFoot_) January 30, 2021
Among the major issues at play here: team president Jacques-Henri Eyraud’s recent comments indicating that the team may have too many supporters “in the club’s organizational structure and administrative departments,” RMC Sport says. That obviously didn’t sit well with fans of the club.
Olympique de Marseille is owned by a notorious former American sports owner, Frank McCourt. The former Los Angeles Dodgers owner sold the team in 2012 after a costly divorce left him in dire straits financially, and in a standoff with Bud Selig and MLB, which eventually led him to agree to sell the team.
Hopefully cooler heads prevail regarding this situation with OM, and most importantly, we don’t see anyone get hurt. The team is scheduled to play again on Feb. 3, against RC Lens.