French fans rip down LGBTQ flag in Champions League clash (VIDEO)
Marseille's traveling fans were accused of being the protagonists of ugly scenes that played out after a 2-0 away defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League in London on Wednesday night.
The French Ligue 1 giants were beaten thanks to two debut Champions League goals from Brazilian international Richarlison.
At full-time, Marseille fans are said to have thrown objects from the away end, including a smoke bomb and bottles, and then tried to get at the home fans at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium and onto the pitch.
An LGBTQ flag hung in the corner and containing the Spurs logo was then torn down by the away support, who were prevented by stewards from leaving their area twice.
As the ground's security struggled to contain the troublemakers, riot police had to be called in.
Ugly scenes at the Tottenham stadium. Fighting, flares and missiles thrown from the visiting fans. Marseille ultras pull down Tottenham’s pride flag in the corner of the ground. Disgusting to see.Riot police arrived to calm things down. pic.twitter.com/oovAPylILz— Declan McCarthy (@dec11mcc) September 7, 2022
Though it was originally said that no police report had been filed yet, or at least had not become public knowledge, London Metropolitan police have confirmed that five Marseille fans were arrested for trouble that left an officer with a suspected broken hand while apprehending a suspect.
"Five people have been arrested at the Champions League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC versus Marseille FC on Wednesday, 7 September," read a statement obtained by The Athletic.
"The arrests were for a variety of offenses including offensive weapons, affray, drunk and disorderly and drugs; all those arrested are believed to be away supporters.
"During the match missiles were thrown on several occasions. One officer was injured during an arrest and suffered a suspected broken hand," police added.
"There was serious disorder at the end of the fixture and additional officers were deployed to restore and maintain order."
It has also been suggested that Spurs and Marseille could both face UEFA charges for their failure to control the crowd.
It's all kicking off with the Marseille fans at full-time pic.twitter.com/Pqm0mrNgax— The Spurs Web (@thespursweb) September 7, 2022
Earlier during the match, there were less volatile moments when ex-Marseille player and current Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton was discovered among the fans of his former club.
Barton had initially been welcomed by Marseille's ultras in a pub near the ground. Inside it, he was greeted with charts of "Barton" and patted his heart to say thanks before he joined in with a rousing rendition of popular terrace chant "Marseille Allez."
Barton was also picked out making an obscene gesture towards the Spurs faithful and thanked their Marseille counterparts on Instagram afterwards.
"Thank you to the supporters of the Olympic Marseille," Barton wrote. "The best. You made my son and I feel welcome. Always in my heart Go OM."
If Marseille are punished for the trouble, this wouldn't be unfamiliar territory given that recent seasons have seen their fans involved in several incidents that led to stand and stadium closures in addition to fines.
In October 2021, during an edition of 'Le Classique' that pits Marseille against bitter rivals Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi was chased by a pitch invader as Neymar also needed protection after being pelted by objects.
French football seemed to have started this season in better spirits after a violence-ridden 2021/2022, but Marseille fans' latest outburst is a step backwards for the country's image also marred by conflict between police and Liverpool supporters at the Champions League final in Paris earlier this year.