Lyon will appeal a decision by the French league (LFP) to make it play its rearranged Ligue 1 game against Marseille next month in front of fans and will ask again to play the match on neutral ground, the club’s director of football said on Friday.
“We want to be able to play football without being afraid or without taking any risks,” Vincent Ponsot said in reference to the incidents which led to the match initially being postponed last month.
The Lyon team bus was stoned on its approach to Marseille’s Velodrome stadium on October 29 and coach Fabio Grosso was left with cuts to the face that required stitches.
The incidents led to the match being called off just as it was supposed to kick off and with 60,000 fans already in the ground.
“We don’t want there to be any sporting punishment because the Marseille players had nothing to do with it,” Ponsot added.
“We want to play the game on neutral ground. We are not going to stop here. We owe it to the players and the staff.”
The LFP announced on Thursday that the match would go ahead before a crowd in Marseille on December 6 after receiving what it said were “guarantees” from local police authorities.
The disciplinary committee of the French league said it would take no action against Marseille as a club because the incidents occurred “on the public highway” and not inside the stadium.
Lyon dismissed that as “a political decision” by the LFP.
“We can’t understand it. We have a coach who almost lost an eye,” Ponsot added, describing what happened to the team bus as an “ambush”.
“Who is to say this won’t happen again,” asked Lyon midfielder Corentin Tolisso. “We are going to go back there as though nothing happened? I really got a fright.”
Meanwhile, Grosso claimed he was “almost sure we won’t be going back there”.
“I hope a strong decision is taken because what happened is very serious,” he said.
The LFP Disciplinary Committee has also opened an investigation into racist chants and gestures made by Lyon fans in the away end of the stadium that night. A decision is expected on November 22.
Lyon is currently bottom of Ligue 1 without a win and with just four points from 10 games this season.
It is due to visit Rennes on Sunday.
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