Welcome to Ligue 1, Sir Jim! Nice v Marseille derby temporarily SUSPENDED due to homophobic chants and banners as hosts suffer defeat in first game since £91m takeover by Britain’s richest man Ratcliffe
- Nice suffered their first defeat since their £91m takeover of the club this week
- The game was overshadowed after it was temporarily halted due to homophobia
- Banners and chants from a section of the ground saw players taken off the pitch
- Flares were later set off and missiles were directed at Marseille’s Dimitri Payet
Nice’s first game since being taken over by Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe descended into chaos after it was temporarily suspended due to banners and chants which were deemed to be homophobic.
Clement Turpin, the referee for the Ligue 1 fixture against Marseille, went to speak with Nice boss Patrick Vieira before concluding the game needed to be halted for 10 minutes while the issue with the supporters behind one of the goals was sorted.
‘We can’t stop a game every time some idiots do something, otherwise we’ll never play, it’s nonsense,’ Nice midfielder Wylan Cyprien told Canal+ during the stoppage in play.
Nice’s match against Marseille was temporarily suspended due to homophobic banners
Fans set off flares behind the goal and the referee felt uncomfortable for the game to go on
Nice’s players went over to plead with offending supporters to remove the offensive banners
Bob Ratcliffe, brother of Nice’s new owner Jim Ratcliffe, watched on in disbelief at the game
Concerns were raised five minutes before the decision was made to temporarily suspend the match as the stadium announcer looked to plead with supporters to end insulting behaviour.
‘We ask you to stop these insulting remarks, otherwise the match will be interrupted,’ the message over the PA system said, as reported by RTL.
Nice’s players, led by former Bayern Munich defender Dante, went over to the supporters believed to be the offending party in a bid to strike an agreement to end the taunts. But the players quickly retreated having seemingly failed to engage in a positive dialogue.
The banners behind one of the goals were deemed to be homophobic in their messages
Nice boss Patrick Vieira returned to the tunnel where he had discussions about the suspension
Both Vieira and opposite number Andre Villas-Boas were called into an emergency meeting
Marseille’s players swiftly retired to the dressing room temporarily as Bob Ratcliffe, brother of Sir Jim, the man who completed the £91million takeover of the club this week, watched on from the stands in disbelief.
Ratcliffe’s chemical company Ineos recently took over cycling Team Sky and rebranded to Team Ineos. One of the offending banners was believed to reference that team with ‘pedale’ (pedal) part of the message.
‘Pedale’ is also considered a derogatory term to a homosexual in France.
Another banner, as reported by Get French Football News, has been translated as ‘More fans in the stands means a more gay stadium’ which is believed to use ‘gay’ as a play on words for ‘happy’.
Turpin’s decision to halt the game is not the first this season with Nice’s defeat to Marseille the fourth game in France to be stopped due to homophobia.
The evening had all the hallmarks of the start of a new era for Nice following the Ratcliffe takeover.
Ajax striker Kasper Dolberg and Lorient ace Alexis Claude-Maurice, both wearing Nice scarves around their necks, watched on from the stands as they prepare to join the club before the close of the transfer window on September 2.
Ratcliffe (second from right), was given a warm welcome by Nice’s fans ahead of the match
Lorient ace Alexis Claude-Maurice (left) and Kasper Dolberg are set to sign for Nice this week
Marseille got the opening goal soon after play continued when Dario Benedetto scored
But after the drama of the temporary halt to proceedings, Marseille restarted strongest when Dario Benedetto got his first goal for the club soon after play continued.
The goal was met with jeers as Nice went into the break a goal down in what proved a first half full of talking points.
Things improved in the second half when Cyprien equalised from the penalty spot but seven minutes later Marseille were ahead again when they score a penalty of their own through Dimitri Payet.
With Nice changing the game, referee Turpin was called into action once again when Payet refused to take a corner after facing a barrage of missiles from the crowd section which was at the centre of the reported homophobic banners.
But Nice responded from the penalty spot as Wylan Cyprien cupped his ear in celebration
Marseille got the decisive goal with a penalty of their own as Dimitri Payet squeezed the ball in
The former West Ham midfielder was the target of missiles by Nice fans in the closing stages