Lyon manager Fabio Grosso ‘seriously injured’ after Marseille bus attack

Lyon’s bus was damaged after arriving at Stade Velodrome (AFP via Getty Images)

Lyon head coach Fabio Grosso suffered “serious” facial injuries after the French club’s team bus came under attack from fans throwing projectives before Sunday’s match at Marseille.

The league fixture on Sunday evening was called off after the attack on the Lyon bus, which shattered windows as it arrved at Stade Velodrome. Footage on social media appeared to show that stones had been thrown and Grosso and his assistant Raffaele Longo were injured by falling shards of glass.

French football’s governing body took the decision to abandon the Ligue 1 fixture after an emergency meeting. Grosso, the former Italy international and World Cup window, was pictured on a stretcher with a bloodied face after the attack.

The governing body, Ligue de Football Professionnel, said in a statement: “During the crisis unit meeting following the incidents that occurred outside the Stade Velodrome on the route of its bus, Olympique Lyonnais made known its opposition to taking part in the match given the circumstances.”

OL issued a statement strongly condemning the attack, adding that they had initially looked for the match to go ahead, before realising the conditions of Grosso and Longo were “much more serious than expected” and due to the “mental state of the players”.

The club said: “This Sunday evening, at the entrance to the Velodrome stadium, several individuals violently attacked the Olympique Lyonnais bus, as well as its staff and players.

“Six buses of Olympique Lyonnais supporters were also targeted. If in the past, attacks of this type had already taken place, which Olympique Lyonnais has always regretted, this Sunday, October 29, a new step towards the worst was taken.

“In fact, several secure windows were broken by heavy projectiles of unknown nature. These same projectiles penetrated the interior of the bus.

The Lyon bus was targeted and hit by rocks thrown on its way to the Velodrome to face Marseille. The Lyon manager Fabio Grosso was injured and bleeding as shards of glass cut his face. @ESPNFC

— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) October 29, 2023

“Coach Fabio Grosso and his assistant Raffaele Longo were directly hit and seriously injured in the face during this attack. Present with them on the bus, the players and staff were also deeply affected by the violence of this attack, which Olympique Lyonnais strongly condemns.

“Initially, as indicated by the OL representative at the start of the crisis meeting, driven by their courage, the coach and the players wanted the meeting to be able to take place.

“Subsequently, the OL representative was informed of the physical condition of Fabio Grosso and his assistant Raffaele Longo, much more serious than expected, but also of the negative medical opinions and the mental state of the players. She then announced a change in the situation, indicating the impossibility of playing the match.”

OL said it was “clearly impossible” for the match to take place, adding that they planned to “file a complaint in the coming days” before calling on the authorities to take action.

They concluded: “Finally, Olympique Lyonnais regrets that this type of situation occurs every year in Marseille and invites the authorities to take stock of the seriousness and repetition of this type of incident before an even more serious tragedy occurs.”

Marseille issued a statement of their own, criticising the perpetrators and wishing 45-year-old Italian Grosso well.

“Olympique de Marseille deplores the unacceptable incidents which took place this evening around the Stade Velodrome, against the professional team bus as well as Olympique Lyonnais supporter buses,” the OM statement read.

This is not the first time this has happened (and not the last sadly) but I have no words for this. This is what was left of the Lyon bus after it was attacked by Marseille fans throwing stones. Unacceptable again.

— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) October 29, 2023

“The club wishes a speedy recovery to Lyon coach Fabio Grosso and strongly condemns this violent behaviour which has no place in the world of football and in society.

“Due to a handful of mindless people, the game planned for this evening was spoiled and deprived 65,000 supporters of attending a football match.

“The club complies with the decision taken by the LFP and remains at its disposal so that the match which was scheduled for this Sunday, October 29, takes place as quickly as possible and under the best possible conditions at the Stade Velodrome.”

Marseille have a recent history of incidents involving their stadium or supporters, including fans storming the training ground and setting a fire, enforcing a match being postponed in 2021. The Metropolitan Police arrested five people a year ago, “believed to be away supporters,” when Marseille played a Champions League game at Tottenham. And one Marseille fan faced an attempted murder charge over firing a flare into Eintracht Frankfurt fans at a game, seriously injuring one visiting supporter.

Lyon manager Grosso scored the winning penalty kick for Italy in the shootout victory over France in the 2006 World Cup final.

Both clubs have been under pressure lately. Despite replacing Marcelino with Gennaro Gattuso as coach in September, Marseille remain showing poor form with one win and three losses in their last four league games. Lyon are the only team still winless in the league. Replacing Laurent Blanc with Grosso as coach in September hasn’t paid off for Lyon, as they sit in last place.

Includes reporting from PA


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