The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) docked Nice two Ligue 1 points, one of which was suspended, due to their involvement in the chaotic scenes with Marseille last month.

The August 22 clash was suspended and then abandoned after home fans stormed the Allianz Riviera pitch in response to Marseille's Dimitri Payet, who was hit on the back of the neck, throwing a bottle back into the Nice crowd.

The LFP had summoned the two teams to a disciplinary hearing on August 25 to explain the unsavoury scenes, which saw a melee break out on the pitch and subsequently in the dugout.

On Wednesday, the LFP announced its decision to punish Nice with a one-point deduction, while also subjecting the French club to three games behind closed doors.

For inciting the crowd, Marseille star Payet received a one-game suspension while team-mate Alvaro Gonzalez faces a two-match ban for also provoking the home fans.

The fixture with rivals Marseille, which failed to be completed as the visitors refused to come back onto the pitch, will also be rearranged and played on a neutral ground without supporters in attendance.

"After reading the investigation report in the presence of the two clubs, the Commission decided to replay the match on a relocated field," the LFP said in a statement midweek.

"In addition, two penalty points were imposed on OGC Nice, including one suspended point."

Marseille physio Pablo Fernandez was caught on camera punching a Nice fan and, after already being suspended indefinitely by the LFP, he will not return to the touchline until June 30th 2022.

Of Payet and Gonzalez, France football's governing body added: "Regarding the players, defender Alvaro Gonzalez received two games of suspension.

"As for his team-mate Dimitri Payet, he was sanctioned with a suspended match."

Nice have won two of their opening three league matches following an unbeaten start to the season, while Marseille also boast the same record.

Former France and Paris Saint-Germain defender Jean-Pierre Adams has died aged 73 after spending 39 years in a coma.

Adams, who appeared 22 times for France, was left in a coma from the age of 34 after undergoing what should have been a routine knee operation.

But Adams never awoke from surgery, anaesthetic-related errors by hospital staff in Lyon led to his brain being starved of oxygen and causing him to slip into a coma.

Adams died at the Nimes University Hospital on Monday.

Tributes have followed from his former clubs Nimes, Nice and PSG, as they all pay respects to a pioneer who paved the way for French-African footballers.

Nimes, who Adams made 84 appearances for, expressed their "most sincere condolences to his loved ones and his family", and Nice promised a tribute before their next home game against Monaco on September 19.

PSG, too, released a statement echoing similar sentiments, adding that Adams' "joie de vivre, charisma and experience commanded respect".

The Senegal-born footballer returned home to Nimes the year after the botched operation and was cared for by his wife Bernadette up to his passing.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) have summoned Nice and Marseille to explain the chaotic scenes that marred their Ligue 1 fixture.

Sunday's contest was suspended and then abandoned after Marseille's Dimitri Payet threw a bottle back into the stands at Nice's Allianz Riviera, prompting home fans to storm the pitch.

A statement from LFP said: "Following the serious incidents of the meeting between Nice and Marseille, the disciplinary commission of the LFP summons the two clubs for the session of Wednesday, 25 August 2021."

Marseille plan to take action to reverse the LFP decision to award Nice a 3-0 victory after OM's players refused to come back out to complete the match.

Captain Steve Mandanda justified his team's refusal to return to the field after supporters had been ushered back into the stands.

"Quite simply, for us players, our safety was no longer guaranteed," the goalkeeper told Marseille's official website.

"We are very clearly shocked by what happened. It is for us something unacceptable that the supporters can come on to the field like that.

"We found each other in danger. A lot of our players have been targeted or affected."

France's minister for sport, Roxana Maracineanu, has called on football's authorities to take action against Nice for the "intolerable" behaviour of their supporters.

"The fight should never have taken place, people should never have been able to enter a field," she told BFM.

"There must be penalties for the club in question so that it affects the fans of the team.

"It's intolerable because the first condition for a match taking place is that the safety of the players on the pitch is assured.

"I hope that the investigation, whether disciplinary or criminal, will make it possible to identify the culprits and to punish them as necessary."

Olympique Marseille intend to take action to reverse the Ligue de Football Professionnel's (LFP) decision to award Nice a 3-0 victory from Sunday's abandoned Ligue 1 game.

Play was suspended between Nice and Marseille at Venue Allianz Riviera with the hosts 1-0 up in the 76th minute when home fans flooded on to the pitch after OM's Dimitri Payet reacted to being hit by a bottle projectile thrown from the crowd by sending it back.

The situation spilled over as Nice ultras spilled on to the pitch and skirmishes broke out among fans, officials and players from both sides. The players eventually left the field of play.

Marseille head coach Jorge Sampaoli was demonstrative in the tunnel and insistent his players should not return given the situation, along with OM president Pablo Longoria.

The match was set to resume but Marseille refused to return due to safety fears, meaning the decision was made by the LFP that it was abandoned and Nice handed a 3-0 win.

According to Amazon, Marseille will take action to have that decision reversed.

"The league has decided to resume. We have decided, for the safety of our players, who have been attacked, not to resume the match," Longoria said.

"It is already the second time, we have experienced this in Montpellier. We had decided what happened today is completely unacceptable. We must set a precedent for French football by taking a stand.

"The referee agreed with us. He confirmed to us that safety was not guaranteed, he did not want to resume the game.

"But the LFP, for a matter of public order, wanted to resume. This is why we decided not to resume and to go back to Marseille this evening."

Three OM players Luan Peres, Matteo Guendouzi and Dimitri Payet were injured in the melees, while Nice claimed according to RMC that players Jean-Claire Todibo and Justin Kluivert were subjected to physical violence by Marseille's security staff during the on-field melee.

"It is disappointing that it ends like this," Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere said. "Things are quite clear... We had water bottles being thrown unfortunately but it is the reaction of the Marseille players to throw bottles back into the stands.

"Marseille's security should not have come onto the pitch and hit our players."

Rivere added: "What catalysed things was the reaction of two Marseille players… I don’t really understand why Marseille didn’t restart."

The Ligue 1 match between Nice and Marseille was suspended and then abandoned after Dimitri Payet threw a bottle back into the stands, causing home fans to storm the pitch.

Footage showed Payet was struck on the back by the missile near the corner flag during the second half, with Nice leading through Kasper Dolberg's 49th-minute goal.

Marseille star Payet then appeared to hurl a bottle back into the crowd, then a second lying on the turf, as his team-mates reacted furiously towards the terraces.

Fans then surged to the sidelines and forced their way past stewards and onto the pitch, where a melee broke out.

The referee suspended the match as security staff attempted to restore order, but fans continued to get onto the field of play and there were further skirmishes in the dugouts as players were led towards the tunnel.

Both sides were eventually taken to the dressing rooms for nearly an hour before Nice players returned to the pitch to warm up, with the game apparently set to resume.

The match officials set up play to continue from Marseille's corner but, as the visitors had not come back onto the pitch and were apparently refusing to do so, the referee ended the game.

Marseille president Pablo Longoria told RMC Sport: "We decided not to resume the match for the safety of our players.

"The league decided as a matter of public order to resume the match. This isn't acceptable for us. It's why we decided not to resume."

 

 

 

Nice must build on their 4-0 thrashing of Ligue 1 champions Lille, Christophe Galtier demanded after triumphing over his former club.

Galtier led Lille to the title last season, as Les Dogues edged out Paris Saint-Germain.

While PSG have added more remarkable talent to their already world class squad, with the arrivals of Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi and Gianluigi Donnarumma topped off by the signing of Lionel Messi, Lille have had to contend with the loss of their coach, who left the club to join Nice in the off-season.

Galtier and Lille hardly parted on good terms internally, despite the 54-year-old delivering the club's first title in a decade.

There have also been rumblings of discontent at Nice, with tensions reportedly appearing between Galtier and sporting director Julien Fournier as they aim to bolster the squad.

A disappointing 0-0 home draw to Reims started Galtier's tenure, but Nice put that well behind them with a thrilling showing against the champions on Saturday.

Kasper Dolberg got the ball rolling inside 57 seconds after Amine Gouiri had caused havoc in the Lille defence – that was the earliest Ligue 1 goal scored by the club since April 2013 (32 seconds).

Gouiri then teed up Hichem Boudaoui for a fierce effort four minutes later to make it 2-0. The former ensured Nice were 3-0 up at the break for the first time since October 2014 as he converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Dolberg completed the scoring just past the hour, with Gouiri denied a second of his own soon after due to offside.

It was the first time since September 2017 that Lille had conceded four goals in a single home league match and Galtier basked in the achievement.

"It's a great victory," he told Nice's official website.

"We knew that we were going to face a side that has been in place for a certain period of time and that our first match against Reims wasn't good enough.

"Against Reims, we were missing a lot of things. The players did well [against Lille]. It's their victory because they have come a long way."

Asked what it meant to defeat his old side in such an emphatic manner, Galtier explained: "I haven't had the time to reflect on that yet. It's always good to keep your feet firmly on the ground and to remain vigilant after this kind of victory, which seems easy when you look at the score.

"But it's a victory that required a lot of commitment and energy. We can't ease our feet off the pedals throughout the week or allow what we are demanding in training to drop off."

The defeat means Lille are still waiting for their first win of the season. It is the third time they have failed to triumph in either of their opening two matches of a campaign in which they have been defending champions.

The new Ligue 1 season is on the horizon and Paris Saint-Germain are clear title favourites. They may have lost the championship race last term, but some things never change.

If Lille's triumph was unexpected in 2020-21, another upset in the coming campaign would be on another level entirely.

While PSG have continued to spend, many of their rivals are feeling the effects of a tough financial market struggling to recover from the collapse of a mammoth television deal late last year.

Is silverware inevitable then for Mauricio Pochettino's men? Stats Perform takes a look at the state of play in France...

THE RICH GET RICHER

Few teams in Europe have recruited as impressively as PSG ahead of the new season, but many of the changes might not be immediately evident in Ligue 1.

Take Sergio Ramos, for example. PSG may have lost their domestic crown last term, but their repeated failures in the Champions League are of primary concern. Ramos should help to fix that.

Few players can match the centre-back's European pedigree. Following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure in 2018, Real Madrid won 10 of the 15 Champions League games Ramos featured in and only four of the 13 he missed.

It is likely he will be the man for the big occasion again in Paris. Now 35 and having played only 15 games in LaLiga last season due to injury, that might mean limited Ligue 1 outings.

Likewise, Gianluigi Donnarumma's role is not entirely clear. He was the standout player at Euro 2020 but must now compete with Keylor Navas, who prevented 8.1 Ligue 1 goals last season according to Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) data – the third-best mark in Europe's top five leagues.

 

Georginio Wijnaldum is a solid addition but unlikely to move the needle, although Achraf Hakimi should give PSG a new dimension. The wing-back has been involved in 30 goals (12 goals, 18 assists) since the start of the 2019-20 campaign, trailing only Robin Gosens (34) among defenders in the top leagues.

However, if Mauricio Pochettino prioritises the Champions League, Moise Kean – 13 goals in 26 league games last season but now back at Everton – might be a miss.

LILLE A LEADING CONTENDER

It was anticipated Lille's key men would be picked off following their title win and that did happen to an extent. Mike Maignan left for Milan, replacing Donnarumma, and Boubakary Soumare for Leicester City. Coach Christophe Galtier is now at Nice.

But Lille have retained their strike force in Burak Yilmaz and Jonathan David along with centre-back pairing Jose Fonte and Sven Botman – two old-and-young combinations.

Fonte and Botman were particularly impressive last term, leading a defence that conceded a league-low 23 goals. They both started last week's Trophee des Champions triumph over PSG, the third time since the start of last season the capital club have failed to net against Lille.

They were not the only club to end 2020-21 with momentum, though. Monaco collected a league-high 51 points from their 21 games in 2021, while only Lille (11) have conceded fewer than their 17 this year.

Stretching that form out across an entire campaign to put PSG under pressure is no simple task, but Monaco have Ligue 1's form man in Aleksandr Golovin.

With five goals and eight assists in 969 minutes in 2021, Golovin is averaging a goal involvement every 75 minutes in Ligue 1 – the best rate among players with 200 minutes or more.

 

MAKING MOVES

Money may be in short supply throughout the division, but PSG are not quite alone in spending ahead of the new season. Rennes and Nice are looking to climb back into the top-four picture.

Rennes finished sixth last term after ex-Lyon man Bruno Genesio arrived with 11 games of the season remaining, finding the side winless in eight and stuck in mid-table.

A record-breaking run lifted Rennes into a European place. No coach in their history can match Genesio's points-per-game average (1.8) or win rate (54.6 per cent).

His reward was significant expenditure on centre-back Loic Bade, joining the third-best defence in the league (40 goals conceded), and forward Kamaldeen Sulemana.

Meanwhile, Nice will hope their own coaching change has a similar impact. Galtier has also been backed, with Jean-Clair Todibo and Calvin Stengs among his recruits.

Perhaps creator Stengs can get Kasper Dolberg firing again after a disappointing six-goal season.

No player in the Eredivisie last term underperformed their expected goals (xG) tally by as wide a margin as Stengs (9.3 xG, five assists), who will hope to find more clinical team-mates in France.

 

Crystal Palace's managerial search is over after they confirmed Patrick Vieira as their new boss.

The Frenchman has signed a deal until 2024, the former Nice coach succeeding Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park.

Former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo had seemed a likely candidate to come in, with Palace having at one point been confident of appointing the Portuguese, only for the move to break down.

Nuno has since joined Tottenham, while Palace were also close to handing the job to ex-Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre, only for the Swiss to turn down the opportunity after talks had initially progressed well.

However, Palace have now made their choice, with Arsenal great Vieira penning a three-year contract.

"I am really excited to have this opportunity to return to the Premier League, and manage this great football club, as we begin a new chapter together," the 45-year-old told the club's official website.

"The club has fantastic foundations in place after many years in the Premier League, and I hope we can make further improvements and continue to drive the club forward."

Vieira, 45, began his coaching career with Manchester City, where he had seen out his playing days, and was appointed as head coach of sister club New York City FC in 2015.

After success in MLS, Vieira joined Nice in 2018, succeeding Favre, securing seventh and fifth-placed finishes respectively in his two seasons in charge.

He was sacked in December 2020, having won 35 of his 89 games in charge across all competitions, losing 32.

Vieira's Nice team were stronger at home, with 24 of his victories coming at the Allianz Riviera, compared to 11 on the road. They averaged 55.53 per cent of the possession in matches – in contrast, Palace averaged just 39.9 per cent across 38 Premier League games last term.

Under Vieira, Nice scored 106 goals, not quite managing to match their expected goals (xG) total of 110.59, though their 115 goals conceded fell short of their expected goals against (xGA) tally of 122.59.

Vieira was not too heavily reliant on set-pieces when it came to chance creation, with his Nice team crafting 596 of 720 goalscoring opportunities from open play.

This may suit Palace, who created 38 chances from set-pieces in the league last season, the joint third-lowest in the division alongside Leicester City and ahead of only Sheffield United (35) and Arsenal (31).

Jean-Clair Todibo has completed a permanent move to Nice from Barcelona for an initial fee of €8.5million.

The centre-back signed for the Ligue 1 club in February on a loan deal with the option for a permanent transfer.

Barca announced on Sunday that they could receive up to €15.5m for the 21-year-old depending on variables, while they will also be due a percentage of a future transfer.

Todibo joined Barca from Toulouse in 2019 but only made six appearances for the Catalans in all competitions.

He spent loan spells with Schalke and Benfica before moving to Nice this year, where he made 15 appearances in Ligue 1, scoring in the 3-1 win over Montpellier in April.

"Barcelona wishes to publicly state its gratitude to Jean-Clair Todibo for his commitment and dedication and wishes him all the very best of success in the future," a Barca statement said.

 

Lille will demand compensation from Christophe Galtier's next club after the coach behind the stunning Ligue 1 title success announced his departure.

The northern side pulled off a remarkable championship success by pipping big-spending Paris Saint-Germain, with Galtier a man in demand following that achievement.

Lyon, Nice and Napoli are said to have made contact with the 54-year-old former Saint-Etienne boss, who could have his choice of jobs.

Olivier Letang, the Lille president, said he gave his blessing for Galtier to leave after being unable to talk him around.

But given that Galtier had 12 months remaining on his Lille deal, the club have a claim on him.

"There's still a year on Christophe's contract with LOSC and in the first instance we will have to discuss the terms of his departure with the club that he chooses," Letang told Lille's website.

"While waiting to find an agreement with this club, we are going to calmly begin to discuss with several coaches of a high level, always with the best interests of the club, namely sporting ambition and competitiveness. Christophe has said he'll always remain a supporter of LOSC; in the same way and in all friendship, I wish him a lot of happiness for the rest of his brilliant coaching career."

Lille clinched the French league title on Sunday and it was Tuesday when Galtier made his desire to leave formally known.

"I obviously showed him my willingness to continue with him, because he is someone for whom I have a great deal of friendship and esteem, as a coach but also as a man," Letang said.

"We spent five months together. They were intense and formidable, on a human and professional level. But Christophe made the decision to leave LOSC. I respect him and have to accept it.

"I naturally tried to convince him [to stay], but I think his decision had already been taken. Everyone at Lille will keep great memories of his time at LOSC, with the peak of this title of champions of France. We can only thank him for what he brought here."

William Saliba has cast further doubt on his time at Arsenal by claiming he was judged by manager Mikel Arteta after just two-and-a-half matches before being loaned to Nice.

The 19-year-old joined Arsenal from Saint-Etienne in July 2019 for a reported £27million (€29.7m) fee and remained with the Ligue 1 side for the 2019-20 season.

He returned to Emirates Stadium ahead of this season but was surprisingly left out of Arsenal's Europa League squad and did not make a single appearance in other competitions.

Saliba departed for Nice on loan last month for the remainder of the campaign and last week admitted to being "hurt" over his lack of playing time with Arsenal.

And the centre-back, who was brought to north London during Unai Emery's time in charge, has now taken another apparent swipe at Arteta.

"It is clear that so much has changed in the last year," Saliba told RMC. "When I saw that the coach changed, a lot changed for me too. In this year there has been a lot of change. He judged me on two-and-a-half matches. 

"I would have liked for him to play me more. But he told me I wasn't ready. I was waiting for him to give me a chance, but football is like that. 

"When I initially came to Arsenal the league looked very good so I showed up to training and wanted to train on my own to show the coach I was ready.

"I am happy now, I want to play for Nice. The idea when you're part of a team is a better feeling for me."

Saliba has impressed during his short time back in France and was last week named Nice's Player of the Month for January.

The France Under-20s international has started seven Ligue 1 games since joining last month, including the full 90 minutes of Sunday's 3-0 win over Angers.

He led the way for Nice in that game for total passes (64), successful passes (58) and touches (82), while no player on the pitch cleared the ball more often (eight times).

Indeed, since making his Nice debut on January 6, only Jose Fonte (439), Steven Nzonzi (472), Sven Botman (487) and Marco Verratti (489) have completed more Ligue 1 passes than Saliba's 437.

Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo has joined Nice on an initial loan deal until the end of the season.

The Ligue 1 club have the option to buy the 21-year-old for €8.5million when the loan concludes, in an agreement that could be worth an additional €7m to Barca in variables.

Todibo joined Barcelona from Toulouse two years ago when he was regarded as one of the brightest young talents in European football.

His two LaLiga games in the Blaugrana's ultimately successful 2018-19 title defence yielded neither a win nor a goal, with a 0-0 draw at Huesca on debut followed by a 2-0 loss at Celta Vigo.

This is Todibo's third consecutive January move after he joined Schalke on loan last year, going on to make eight Bundesliga appearances before a €25m purchase option was declined.

Opportunities to progress at Barcelona this season were hindered by a positive coronavirus test in August.

The switch to Nice has been made possible by Benfica agreeing to terminate Todibo's loan without the player making a single appearance in the Portuguese top flight.

Arsenal defender William Saliba admits he was "hurt" after not being given first-team opportunities following his move from Saint-Etienne. 

The 19-year-old arrived at the Emirates Stadium in July 2019 for a reported £27million (€29.7m) fee and was loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 campaign.

He returned to the Gunners ahead of this season and was expected to become part of manager Mikel Arteta's plans after a possible second loan back to Saint-Etienne failed to materialise in October.

However, the France youth international did not make a senior appearance for the Premier League club and was loaned to Nice earlier this month.

Saliba made his fifth appearance for the Ligue 1 outfit in Sunday's 1-0 defeat to his former club Saint-Etienne. 

Despite the result he had an impact at the heart of the backline, making more successful passes (58) and clearances (five) than any other Nice player.

He also gained possession seven times, the joint second-highest of any player on the pitch.

Saliba has opened up on his frustration with life at Arsenal and feels strongly he should have been given a chance to impress in the first team.

"I really, really, really didn't think that I would be transferred for almost €30m," he told TF1.

"To think that I would arrive, where people were expecting a lot from me, the fans were excited about me and you find yourself in the reserves, playing zero – nothing in the Europa League or the Premier League.

"I was in the squad once in the EFL Cup. It hurt me, it affected me. I don't think I left too early. When you feel ready you have to go. These things happen. I believe in myself."

While Saliba is enjoying playing first-team football again at Nice, he insists he is not thinking about where he will be next season.

"I have learned now that it is better not to look too far in the future," he added. "I am focused on just these six months to try to give absolutely everything and for the rest we will see.

"For me, the best decision was to join Nice because there is a good project, a good team, a good level of ambition and they like to play in a certain way.

"It feels good to play and to have consistent game time. I am young, I am 19, and it is by playing matches like this that you improve.

"You see what mistakes you make and you correct them for the next match."

Frank Lampard's position as Chelsea head coach is under threat, while Tottenham have started talks to extend Harry Kane's deal.

Lampard is under increasing pressure at Stamford Bridge after just one win in their past six Premier League games.

Sunday's 3-1 loss to Manchester City has only put further pressure on the Chelsea boss.

 

TOP STORY – LAMPARD'S POSITION AS CHELSEA BOSS UNDER THREAT

Lampard's job as Chelsea head coach is under serious threat, according to The Athletic.

The report says the Premier League club, who are eighth in the table, have started looking at replacements.

Lampard took charge of Chelsea in July 2019, but they sit seven points behind Liverpool and Manchester United – who have both played one game fewer – despite spending heavily in the close season.

ROUND-UP

- Kane's impressive form for Tottenham has seen him linked with the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. The Independent reports Spurs have started talks with the forward, who has 10 goals and 11 assists in the Premier League this season, over a contract extension, even though his current deal runs until 2024.

- With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez sidelined with long-term injuries, Liverpool continue to be linked with defenders. But The Athletic reports the Premier League champions are not considering a move for Lille defender Sven Botman.

- Struggling for game time at Tottenham, Dele Alli is linked with a reunion with Mauricio Pochettino at PSG. Foot Mercato reports Pochettino has spoken with Alli, who is open to a move.

- Staying at PSG and Sky Sports reports the Ligue 1 giants are in negotiations with Everton to sign Moise Kean on a permanent deal worth around €34.6million (£31m). Kean has scored nine goals in 16 games in all competitions on loan at PSG.

- Samuel Umtiti's Barcelona future is uncertain. Todofichajes reports Nice have a strong interest in the defender on an initial loan deal.

- Patrick Bamford has scored 10 Premier League goals this season and the Leeds United forward is out of contract next year. The Sun reports Leeds are set to reward the 27-year-old with a lucrative new deal.

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