French top-flight football clubs Nice and Marseille have been punished for the “discriminatory” behavior of their fans, which has included homophobic banners and chanting.
Nice will have a tier in its stadium closed for a home match, while Marseille’s supporters will not be able to attend an away game.
The upper tier of the Tribune Sud stand of Nice’s Allianz Riviera stadium will be closed for its match against Lille Saturday, following the ruling from the discipline commission of the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP).
The stand, which holds many of the clubs’ season ticket holders, will be closed because of “banners and discriminatory chants” during a Ligue 1 match between Nice and Marseille on August 28.
The game was halted for 10 minutes during the first half by referee Clement Turpin, with players escorted off the pitch.
One of the banners in question criticized the French football league for approving more fenced off sections in stadiums, saying it would make “stadiums more gay,” with another appearing to refer to Nice’s new owner, the British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who completed a takeover reported to be worth about $100 million.
Ratcliffe also owns the Team Ineos cycling outfit. The banner used a play on words with the word “pedale,” which translates as “pedal” in French but is also used as a homophobic slur.
After the game, Nice manager Patrick Vieira called the behavior of the Nice fans “unacceptable” and praised the referee’s decision to take the players off the pitch.
Marseille’s punishment relates to chants heard in a game against south coast rivals Monaco on September 15 and prevents fans attending the Ligue 1 clash in Amiens on October 4.
Marseille’s “visitors park” will also be closed for the trip to Amiens.
Ahead of this season, referees in France were given new powers to stop matches in the event of homophobic behavior.
Earlier in August, a second-tier match between Nancy and Le Mans was suspended after supporters sang homophobic songs.