Breaking news in the Champions League this afternoon. Olympique Marseille has been punished by UEFA for behaving badly in recent matches, and will now play their next two home Champions League fixtures in either a closed, or partially closed, stadium. This includes the match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Stade Velodrome on November 1, 2022.
This decision means that Marseille’s next home Champions League match against Sporting on October 4 will be played behind closed doors with no fans, home or away, in attendance. In addition, their NEXT home Champions League match will be played with one stand (the Virage Nord) closed.
That’s not exactly insignificant — the Virage Nord holds 13k fans and takes the maximum attendance 67k to just over 54k. But it’s also not exactly significant, either — one stand will be noticeably empty when Spurs visit the Velodrome, but it’ll still be a rabidly pro-Marseille crowd and I doubt it will have any impact on the match besides a financial one.
This decision comes after Marseille’s first home match, a 1-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, which saw incidents of unruly fan behavior that included not only flares, laser pointers, and violent Marseille supporters, but also a charge against visiting Frankfurt supporters for racism. UEFA charged both clubs with a total of nine offenses afterwards.
You might also recall that Marseille fans had some similar (if not equal) bad behavior in their visit to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium: supporters ripped down the Proud Lilywhites banner hanging in the stadium, and also visibly and without malice or remorse allowed the presence of Joey Barton. Lovely fanbase.