Spectators throwing projectiles onto a football pitch is nothing new and rarely forces a match to be called off.
However, that can all change depending on the degree of danger posed by whatever is being thrown onto the field.
If the safety and wellbeing of the players is at risk, the match officials will have no choice but to abandon the game.
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It is not often an incident like this occurs – especially in the top European leagues – so when it does, it’s certainly a big deal.
Lyon and Metz were the unlucky Ligue 1 clubs involved in a horrible incident on Saturday which saw referee Lionel Jaffredo ask for all players to be escorted off the pitch.
The decision was made after firecrackers were hurled at Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, one of which exploded next to the Portuguese and a club doctor while he was receiving treatment.
Metz had just taken a 1-0 lead midway through the first half at the Stade Saint-Symphorien, but the mood in the stands quickly turned sour.
The match was suspended for 45 minutes before it was deemed necessary to call it off completely.
Lyon later posted a tweet saying Lopes was being assessed in hospital, and their president Jean-Michel Aulas had plenty to say about the incident shortly after the final whistle.
“At best, he suffered very significant tinnitus. He has no balance and doesn’t really know where he is. At worst, his eardrum may be affected,” he said, per the Guardian.
“This is so serious, so shameful. Security must be provided by the host club. We saw things that are unacceptable and unthinkable. I expect a strong reaction from the LFP and FFF [Fédération Française de Football].”
Given firecrackers are capable of causing even more serious harm, one would expect the Ligue de Football Professionnel to take significant action to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.
The governing body has confirmed it would be conducting an investigation, saying in a statement: “The LFP regrets this incident, and will be uncompromising in dealing with it.”
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