Protests in Marseille see smoke bombs thrown & tree set alight as fans vent anger at dismal season

The Ligue 1 giants have hit a desperate run of form, claiming only one win in nine, and a group of fans have made their anger known

Angry Marseille fans have been protesting against the running of the club amid a disappointing 2020-21 season on the pitch, with supporters having thrown smoke bombs and started fires at the Ligue 1 side’s training base.

The chaotic scenes have led to French football’s governing body calling off Marseille’s meeting with Rennes, which was due to take place on Saturday evening.

Followers of the Ligue 1 giants have been airing their frustration during a desperate run of form for Andre Villas-Boas’ side that has seen them suffer three successive defeats for the first time in his reign at Stade Velodrome.

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Matters have now come to a head, with a section of supporters taking aim at the club’s players, coaches and board.

Unhappy at the way in which the team are being run on and off the field, fans descended on Marseille’s training centre, with smoke bombs having been used and trees having been set alight.

🔴 Ça chauffe à La #Commanderie ! Plusieurs groupes ont arrosé l’entrée du centre d’entraînement avec des fumigènes et des feux d’artifice. Ils essaient de pénétrer à l’intérieur de l’enceinte (Crédit : Cédric Monné) #OM #TeamOM

— La Provence OM (@OMLaProvence) January 30, 2021

Elsewhere in the city, a number of insulting banners have been displayed that called for the club’s management to walk away, with president Jacques-Henri Eyraud singled out.

A statement from the French club read: “Olympique de Marseille strongly condemns the unacceptable attack on the club this afternoon inside the Robert-Louis Dreyfus training centre.

“A few hundred individuals from Ultras supporters groups broke into the site of the Commanderie’s training centre, including the professional group’s building, by force, and with violence.

En bref, voici comment résumer Jacques-Henri en une banderole. #EyraudDemission

— (@ompassion) January 30, 2021

“Despite the intervention of the police, an unjustifiable outbreak of violence endangered the lives of those present on the site (players, staff, law enforcement, security guards, employees).

“Thefts were perpetrated and vehicles were damaged. Five trees were burnt with the sole intention of destruction. Damage inside the buildings amounted to several hundred thousand euros.

“These irresponsible and unacceptable actions must be condemned with the utmost severity. Olympique de Marseille has all the evidence. They were immediately passed on to the investigators. Complaints will be filed in the next few hours to assert the club’s rights against this barbarity.

The Ligue 1 side’s president Jacques-Henri Eyraud added: “Three hundred employees are tonight in a state of shock for having lived live or discovered the images of an unspeakable attack against the OM Institution.

#OMSRFC 1/2 Dégagez de notre club les incompétents on ne vous supporte plus. #EyraudDemission #McCourtGo #FiersDetreMarseillais 🔵⚪️

— VieilleGardeCU84 (@VGCU84) January 30, 2021

“What happened this afternoon calls for the utmost severity for these troublemakers who claim to be supporters but destroy facilities and threaten employees and players.”

Club captain Steve Mandanda also gave his opinion on the ugly scenes and said: “I’ve been a player at Olympique de Marseille for 13 years. I know everything about this club, I know the love and frustration it can arouse.

“But today’s events sadden me and are unacceptable. We are football players and a sports crisis can in no way justify such a wave of violence. This is a time for appeasement.”

Centre-back Alvaro Gonzalez added: “I came to Olympique de Marseille for its history and the passion that surrounds it. This city is wonderful, we all love this club but what we have experienced today must never happen again.”

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