Olympique Marseille have suspended Patrice Evra after the veteran defender appeared to aim a kick at a club supporter as trouble erupted before the French club’s Europa League fixture with Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.
The club have also heavily condemned the supporters involved for what they called ‘particularly hateful’ actions towards Evra as he and his team-mates warmed up for Thursday’s game.
Trouble flared as travelling supporters encroached on to the side of the pitch and were involved in a series of altercations with the players. Video footage appeared to show Evra aiming a kick at one supporter before being led away by his team-mates.
“As a professional and experienced player Patrice evra should not have responded in such a way” – Marseille F.c.
“Jacques-Henri Eyaud, President of Olympique Marseille, met Patrice Evra today (Saturday November 4th) and informed him of his suspension with immediate effect and a summons to an interview prior to a possible disciplinary sanction”, read a club statement.
“As a professional and experienced player, Patrice Evra should not have responded in such an inappropriate way.”
Evra, who joined Marseille in January, was named among the substitutes for Thursday’s Group I fixture at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques. But following the incident during the warm-up, the former France captain was sent-off before the game had begun.
UEFA have issued Evra with a compulsory one-game suspension and confirmed they would discuss further action against the player when their disciplinary body meets on Friday 10th November.
“the results of the investigation reveal a handful of provocateurs uttered particularly serious, hateful attacks against the player” – Marseille f.c.
And the European governing body also revealed they would be taking action against Marseille for the behaviour of the club’s supporters, who entered the field of play and let off fireworks.
“The first results of the internal investigation conducted by the club reveal an unacceptable behaviour on the part of a handful of provocateurs who uttered particularly serious, hateful attacks against the player [Evra] and his team-mates”, claimed Marseille in their statement.
“The club is continuing its investigation and will use all legal means at its disposal against individuals who, under the guise of their passion for OM, endanger their reputation by entering the field and insulting a player, instead of supporting him”, the statement concluded.
Marseille lost the fixture 1-0, leaving them in second place in Group I with six points after four fixtures. They trail Salzburg by two points with Vitoria and Konyaspor a further two points adrift. The top two teams in each group advance to the knockout stages.
Marseille’s next Europa League game is an away fixture with Konyaspor on Thursday November 23rd. Evra will definitely miss the game through suspension but it remains to be seen whether he will continue as a Marseille employee until then.
–Alistair Sargent, Editor (Sport)
(-Picture, Super MF)