There were shocking scenes in France on Wednesday night as the Ligue 1 fixture between Nice and Marseille was stopped midway through the first half.
It emerged that the game had been paused by referee Clement Turpin after an alleged homophobic banner was displayed on one of the stands at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.
The game was 0-0 in the 27th minute when all of the players were instructed to leave the pitch.
It was initially unclear to viewers why the game had been stopped.
However, it soon became clear on social media that a banner was the cause.
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Watch the footage of the players leaving the pitch here…
Per L’Equipe journalist Mathieu Gregoire, there were actually two different banners displayed behind one of the goals.
Here’s the first one…
Goal.com’s Robin Bairner provides the translation.
And this is the second…
Tom Williams explains...
Journalist Mohammed Ali confirmed on Twitter that the ref deemed the banners as homophobic.
He added: “For those asking why Nice-OM suspended:
“The LFP has encouraged refs to stop games if any discrimination in stands -> yet fans angry as it means it could stop matches at any time, including insults at the league (which most fans draw their ire against)”
After a delay of around 10 minutes, the players were eventually instructed to return to the pitch and continue playing.
It goes without saying that there’s no room for homophobia - or any sort of discrimination - in football.
It’s an issue which continues to raise its ugly head in our beautiful game.News Now - Sport News