IN IMAGES, IN PHOTOS. Football: During OM – PAOK Saloniki, Greek fans downgraded the visitors’ stand in the Vélodrome stadium

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The tension was palpable, both inside and outside the stadium on Thursday 7 April, during this first leg in the quarterfinals. The climate did not really calm down this Friday.

The day after the serious incidents between supporters on the sidelines of the Marseille-PAOK Saloniki match in the Europa League conference, tensions had not abated on Friday, April 8, with the two clubs and local authorities shrugging off responsibility for the events, suggesting a return electricity match on Thursday in Greece.

Seats broken off, safety nets burned, toilets boned: during the day, the Public Prosecution Service distributed some photos of the visitors’ area of ​​the Stade Vélodrome, which testify to the harshness of the incidents on Thursday evening.

While more than 2,000 PAOK supporters were present in Marseille, the clashes began on Wednesday with the first two arrests. The atmosphere around the stadium was also very tense before the match and the tension rose fifteen minutes before kick-off with the throwing of projectiles, firecrackers, smoke bombs and even fireworks between Marseille supporters installed in the North Bend and fans of the Thessaloniki club gathered in their parking lot.

AFP – NICOLAS TUCAT

A brief movement of the crowd took place at the bottom of the bend before police intervened, who used tear gas at the Greek fans. In all, a dozen people were arrested and police headquarters on Thursday said about 30 police officers were injured, most of them lightly.

AFP – NICOLAS TUCAT

“Irresponsible attitude”

But after the game, then during the daytime on Friday, calm did not really return, even if the clashes became verbal or written. PAOK coach Razvan Lucescu said at a press conference that the Greek fans had been “poorly received”.

AFP – NICOLAS TUCAT

“In the second leg, I hope Marseille will be received as we have been received here. I am very disappointed with what I have seen today, it is a very bad image for the city of Marseille,” said the Romanian technician. “Your supporters had better not come,” he said in a hushed voice as he left the room.

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These words sparked a response from Marseille president Pablo Longoria. “Pablo went to Lucescu and told him that his attitude was irresponsible and that it was suicide to light things like this for the second leg,” a source within the OM told AFP.

Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli also regretted “statements for which there is no room” at a press conference on Friday. “He anticipates something that has nothing to do with football. You should fight violence, not incite it. He creates a threat by talking about something that has not happened yet,” said the Argentine technician.

Trip cancelled

In the morning, Bouches-du-Rhône police chief Frédérique Camillieri, for her part, had indicated that she intended to send a report to UEFA describing “all the difficulties” faced by the authorities.

And she deplored the stance of PAOK, which she says has failed to fulfill several written commitments about measures to monitor the movement of its supporters. The Greek club immediately reacted by denouncing in a press release “the monumental incompetence of the management of the police of Bouches-du-Rhône”: “it is only thanks to the superhuman and reinforced efforts of the security agents that we did not “Don’t have to mourn the victims.”

“We are very disappointed with what has happened. There has been unacceptable violence in Marseille and there is already enough of it outside of football. It is a pity and it is very sad,” midfielder Matteo Guendouzi regretted in a press conference on Friday. Following these incidents, UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the two clubs.

In this context, Thursday’s return leg is likely to be played in an extremely tense atmosphere, especially as Thessaloniki’s Toumba Stadium is known for its fervor. A manager of one of the main Marseille support groups also told AFP that the planned trip to Greece had been cancelled.

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