Why Lyon’s abandoned French Cup tie is troubling

It was the primetime fixture in the French Cup. Paris FC, fourth in Ligue 2, tried to advance past Ligue 1 giants Lyon. Millions of viewers would tune in to the match to see how Paris would handle an explosive yet erratic OL side. 

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As soon as the ball went into play, Lyon pressed energetically, eager to show that their mediocre standing in Ligue 1 did not matter. We saw how French football is so unique and beautiful. 

Paris FC’s Warren Caddy launched a long ball to Gaetan Laura early. Laura burst down the flank, faked out the nearest defender, and sent a ball past Anthony Lopes for a score. 

It was beautiful.

Thirteenth-place Lyon retaliated near the end of the first half. After getting behind a long ball, Emerson passed the ball to Moussa Dembele. Dembele got the ball in front of the box, faced the goal, and slammed a missile past the Paris defense. The defense, stunned, watched as it went into the top right corner of the net. 

The match was thrilling and eye-opening. There is no doubt it left spectators on the edge of their seats. As the first half ended, we began to see how French football is unique in other ways.

Fans began to invade the grounds, brawled, and launched flares. Smoke wafted from the stands as a host of fans made their way onto the Charlety. Lyon players stood in awe before evacuating for their safety.

This was not the first time fan violence halted a Ligue 1 match this season. The Nice-Marseille match saw Dmitri Payet struck by a water bottle. Marseille fans and Angers supporters stormed the pitch after a scoreless stalemate. Lens supporters ran to the away section and brawled with Lille fans in a climactic Derby du Nord. 

This Coupe de France tie is the latest incident in a long line of fan violence. Something should be done. But many questions are in the way.

The Aftermath

“More than ever, we must eradicate these incidents of hooliganism and banish all those who are enemies, by their deeds, of football as a whole but also of the clubs they claim to support.”

“In this context, until further notice, and until light is shed on the identification of the perpetrators, Olympique Lyonnais has decided to ban fan groups from traveling to away matches.”

OL is threatening lifelong stadium bans to perpetrators of the incident and will review video footage to track the instigators. Les Gones will also ban fan groups from traveling to away matches. Paris FC has not issued a statement. 

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Takeaways

This looks bad on French club football. Yet another issue of fan violence makes the FFF look unruly and chaotic. The violence overshadows the game’s beauty.

Lyon’s actions show French clubs are committed to ending fan violence. Yet, the people in charge are not doing enough to prevent violence.

If plastic bottles can be banned from stadiums, then so should firecrackers. 

There will likely be injuries and maybe even deaths from the brawls, pitch invasions, and flares. It should not take a lost life to wake up officials.

How will the FFF handle the French Cup incident? Will the game be rescheduled? If not, will Paris FC and Lyon both exit the competition? 

The Author

Deolu Akingbade

I'm an African football analyst who loves cheering for the Super Eagles and Atletico Madrid. I am 13-years-old and am featured in WorldSoccerTalk as well.

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