Local police in France ordered the closure of the South Stand of Allianz Riviera, the home ground of OGC Nice due to the havoc the club’s supporters unleashed during the club’s season-opener against Marseille on Sunday.
OGC Nice welcomed spectators to the Allianz Riviera for the first time since March 2020 but didn’t end as expected. Their game with their south-coast rivals ended in chaos.
From the kick-off of the French Ligue 1 game to the 75th minute, the stewards at the stadium struggled to keep things under control. The OGC Nice’s supporters who occupied the South Stand continued to throw objects to the pitch until one of the bottles they threw on the pitch hit Marseille’s player Dimitri Payet.
Dimitri decided to pick up one of the bottles and threw it back to the irate crowd of supporters who always referred to themselves as Nice ultras. The group of notorious fans always occupy the South Stand of the stadium.
Dimitri didn’t stop at one bottle, he picked up another bottle and aimed it at the crowd before his teammates Álvaro González and Arsenal loanee Mattéo Guendouz joined him to fight back.
This propelled the irate crowd to invade the pitch despite how hard the stewards at the pitch tried to prevent the crowd from getting close to the pitch. It became a free-for-all until the two teams managed to escape from the pitch.
This incident happened when OGC Nice was leading Marseille 1-0. OGC Nice returned to the pitch to complete the remaining 15 minutes of the game, but Marseille refused to continue with the game due to security worries.
The match had to be suspended and the league governing body summoned representatives of the two clubs to a meeting on Monday, August 23. At the time of publishing this report, the outcome of the meeting has not been published.
While the football world awaits the decision of French Ligue 1, the police prefect of the region where OGC Nice is located, Bernard Gonzalez said in a statement that the South Stand of the stadium would be closed for four league games.
The statement read: “Given the seriousness of the incidents that occurred, and without waiting for the sanctions to be decided by the professional football league (LFP), the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes has taken the following decisions this evening: closure of the Populaire Sud stand where the incidents occurred for the next four home matches.”
This means that the OGC Nice ultras would not occupy their favorite side of the stadium in the home games against Bordeaux on August 28, against Monaco on September 19, against Brest on October 3, and against Lyon on October 24.