PARIS, France – French authorities have taken nine individuals into custody and are actively pursuing other suspects following a violent attack on buses transporting the Lyon soccer team and their supporters. The incident resulted in coach Fabio Grosso sustaining a head injury and necessitated the postponement of their scheduled match in Marseille. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin disclosed on Monday that five police officers also suffered injuries during the assault on Sunday evening, which has sparked widespread concern about soccer-related violence.
The team bus was targeted en route to the Stade Velodrome, resulting in shattered windows and injuries to Grosso and Lyon assistant coach Raffaele Longo. The violent act also extended to buses carrying Lyon fans. Grosso was left with a deep gash above his left eye, requiring stitches and a large bandage to cover his head wound. The attack has drawn attention from international media and is occurring as the French league grapples with negotiations for the sale of its TV rights abroad.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino condemned the violence, emphasizing the need for safety for all players, coaches, and fans within the sport. In addition, Sports Minister Amelia Oudea-Castera called for a comprehensive response, urging the French league, teams, and fan groups to assume responsibility and implement stricter measures to address troublemakers. Marseille president Pablo Longoria described the assault as unacceptable, conveying the club’s well-wishes for Grosso’s swift recovery.
The tense dynamic between Marseille and Lyon has been further inflamed by the recent incident and the teams’ respective struggles in the league. Incidents of racist gestures within the seating area at Marseille’s stadium also marred the prelude to the game’s cancellation. The renewed conflict between the two teams is reminiscent of a violent clash a decade ago, impacting 17 individuals. The timing of this attack has added pressure on both clubs, with Marseille exhibiting poor form and Lyon still seeking their first league win.
The attack on the Lyon soccer team has prompted discussions about the need for stronger security measures and disciplinary actions to address the rising specter of violence in the sport. The hunt for additional suspects and ongoing investigations reflect the severity of this incident and the potential implications for the larger soccer community in France and beyond.