Lens to play in empty stadium following fan violence

AP , Monday 20 Sep 2021

Lens' Polish midfielder Przemyslaw Adam Frankowski (C) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between RC Lens (RCL) and Lille (LOSC) at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, northern France, on September 18, 2021. AFP

French club Lens will play its next couple of home games in an empty stadium in the wake of the fan violence that marred Saturday's match between the team and its bitter rival Lille, the French league said.

The league put the case under investigation on Monday and imposed the penalty as a precautionary measure until its disciplinary committee reaches a final sanction.

A decision is expected to be announced on Oct. 6. In the meantime, the league also decided to prevent Lille fans from traveling to away games.

The game between the northern rivals was interrupted for about 30 minutes when fans from both sides clashed at halftime.

After the first half, a large group of Lens supporters invaded the field and ran to the away section where they tried to confront Lille fans. Riot police and stewards intervened. An emergency meeting took place to decide whether the match at Stade Bollaert should continue. After the second half got underway there was no further violence.

It was the second high-profile incident of the season in France following serious disorder at the Nice-Marseille game in August, which was called off and will be replayed next month.

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