Latest news in the Champions League this afternoon. Olympique de Marseille have been punished by UEFA for their poor behavior in recent matches and will now play their next two Champions League home games in a closed or partially closed stadium. This includes the game against Tottenham Hotspur at the Stade Vélodrome on November 1, 2022.
The move means Marseille’s next Champions League home game against Sporting on October 4 will be played behind closed doors with no fans, home or away, in attendance. In addition, their NEXT Champions League game at home will be played with a closed stand (the Virage Nord).
That’s not exactly trivial – the Virage Nord has 13,000 fans and takes peak attendance from 67,000 to just over 54,000. But it’s not entirely significant either – a grandstand will obviously be empty when Spurs visit the Velodrome, but it will still be a fiercely pro-Marseille crowd and I doubt that will have any impact on the game apart from a financial impact.
The move comes after Marseille’s first home game, a 1-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, which saw incidents of unruly fan behavior that included not only flares, laser pointers and violent Marseille fans, but also an accusation against fans visiting Frankfurt for racism. UEFA subsequently charged the two clubs with a total of nine breaches.
You may also recall that Marseille supporters exhibited similar (if not equal) behavior when visiting the Tottenham Hotspur stadium: supporters tore down the Proud Lilywhites banner hung in the stadium, and also visibly and unmaliently nor remorse allowed Joey Barton’s presence. Nice fan base.