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Fan violence delays start of Europa League match between Lyon and Besiktas

© Carlo Hermann, AFP | Supporters gesture on the pitch of the Parc Olympique Lyonnais ahead of Europa League quarter-final between Lyon and Besiktas.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-04-14

Crowd disorder delayed the start of Thursday's Europa League quarter-final between French club Lyon and Turkey’s Besiktas after fans invaded the pitch to escape missiles being thrown.

Minutes before kickoff, hundreds of fans spilled onto the pitch for their own safety as fireworks were set off and missiles hurled from the Turkish fan stand.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas was among the officials on the pitch who tried to restore order and persuade fans to return to their seats.

Pitch invasion at Parc Olyimique Lyonnais

The game eventually started at 9:50pm local time, 45 minutes behind schedule.

‘High-risk’ match

French authorities had labelled Thursday’s quarter-final in Lyon a “high-risk” match, fearing it might be used by Turkish fans to make a political statement, only a few days before a controversial referendum in their country.

Security had also been tightened due to the attack on the Borussia Dortmund team bus on Tuesday night, which injured a player and forced a match against French club Monaco to be postponed by 24 hours.

Video below shows Besiktas fans in the streets of Lyon earlier today

Between 15,000 and 20,000 Turkish fans – from Turkey, France and other European countries – were expected to travel to the central French city of Lyon for the game.

Some 500 officers, including riot police, were stationed around the stadium, more than twice the number usually deployed for a football match.

Local authorities also banned supporters from entering the stadium with jerseys, scarves, flags and banners other than those of the teams and countries they represent.

Video shows these Besiktas fans travelling from Berlin to "capture" Lyon


Before the match, Lyon club officials apologised to the home fans for a “communication glitch” over ticket sales, which led to Turkish fans in and outside France snapping up a third of all seats in the 60,000-capacity stadium.

On Monday, club president Aulas urged Lyon supporters to rally behind their team, “because there will be a strong opposition and many Turks inside the stadium”.

Besiktas last reached a European quarter-final in 2003, when they lost to Italy’s Lazio in what was then known as the UEFA Cup.

Date created : 2017-04-13


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