The future of French football ‘at stake’

Dimitri Payet has been hit twice by a bottle this season

Repeated crowd problems in Ligue 1 matches are putting the “survival” of French football at stake, says Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu.

Sunday’s game between Lyon and Marseille was abandoned after Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle thrown from the stands in five minutes into the game.

Payet has already been hit with a bottle during a game this season.

This season, the league has been marred by crowd violence, missile launches and field invasions.

On Monday, the French League (LFP) announced that Lyon will play their next Ligue 1 game at home behind closed doors pending an investigation into Sunday’s problems.

Lyon will host Reims on December 1, and the result of the investigation is expected to be delivered on December 8.

“They have to reach an agreement, this type of problem must be solved by the league,” Maracineanu told France Info radio.

“Everyone must understand that what is at stake is the survival of French football.”

France’s interior and sports ministries will meet on the subject on Tuesday.

Sunday’s game was paused for more than two hours before being officially canceled.

“It is a world in which millions of euros are at stake,” added Maracineanu.

“We cannot allow an announcer, who has bought the rights, to keep the conversation moving for more than an hour as he did when we do not know if the game will continue.”

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