Watching Bastia v Marseille on TV on Wednesday night was a strange experience; switching on for the 9pm KO, I wasn’t sure if I was watching the game live, or footage of a previous game, one of several, per L’Equipe, that have brought things to a head.
There was the constant sound of explosions, and a swelling bank of fog obscuring the game, until, peering through the mist, you could see that the tribunes were all empty. This was, in fact, a game ‘huis clos’ – behind closed doors – and the noise and the smoke was coming from the Bastia support ranged in front of a big screen in the carpark outside their stadium in Furiani.
The step to have this match played in front of empty stands had been taken because of clashes in the Corsican derby, when Bastia were ‘welcomed’ by Ajaccio in their first Ligue 1 clash in eight years, back in October. Late on in that 0-0 game, Bastia defender Gaël Angoula and Ajaccio midfielder Johan Cavalli clashed heads (in a deliberate, rather than accidental, sense) leading to both being sent off, and trouble – flares, and agricultural bombs – in the stands, such that the players were trying to calm their livid fans. This followed incidents at Bastia’s home game against PSG (0-4) in September, when the PSG bus was reportedly targeted by a variety of missiles and there were clashes with the police after the match, when tear gas was deployed and several people, fans and police, were hurt, and more trouble at the League Cup game against Lille when an assistant referee was hit in the head by a projectile.
Corsica Infurmazione, L’information Corse
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