Soccer Lyon Bus Attack Upsurge Amid Heightened Security

MARSEILLE, France – Lyon is set to return to Marseille with increased security measures on Wednesday to play a game that was previously postponed due to an attack on the team’s bus by fans throwing rocks back in October. The rescheduled match comes just days after the death of a fan before a French league game, marking a season marred by violence.

Lyon’s fans have been barred from traveling to the rescheduled game, as the match takes place in the wake of an incident in Nantes, where a fan was killed during a fight close to the stadium before a game between Nantes and Nice.

The match in Marseille will be under close scrutiny, with local authorities under pressure to deliver an effective security plan. French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera called for a “global and extraordinarily determined response” to an upsurge of violence in French soccer that ultimately led to the fan’s death.

During the previous incident in Marseille, the Lyon team bus was hit on the way to Stade Velodrome, resulting in the injuries of the coach and assistant coach as well as five police officers. Following a string of disappointing results, the then-coach Fabio Grosso was fired last week and replaced by interim coach Pierre Sage.

In addition to the attack on the bus, racist incidents also took place before the match between Marseille and Lyon. Players and staff will leave for Marseille on Wednesday morning and will stay in a hotel that has been booked in consultation with local Marseille authorities. Once in Marseille, the team won’t be using its usual bus bearing the club’s colors and will instead use an unmarked bus fitted with reinforced windows.

Because the October incidents took place outside the Stade Velodrome, Marseille has not faced disciplinary sanctions from the French league. Both Marseille and Lyon, two traditionally successful French clubs, have failed to meet expectations this season. Marseille sits ninth in the standings, 16 points behind league leader Paris Saint-Germain, while Lyon is bottom of the league with just one win in 13 matches.