Football is a game of passion. Both on and off the pitch, passion goes a long way to make football the most beautiful game. However, sometimes an uncontrollable surge of passion can also turn ugly.
Something similar happened in the relegation playoffs of League 1. It was the second leg of the battle for a place in the top flight league of France. Played between Saint Etienne and Auxerre. Having already drawn the first leg, the team couldn’t be separated in the second leg either.
Having completed the game 1-1 at the end of the second leg, the match was decided on penalties. And St Etienne lost 4-5 to their opposite number.
Saint Etienne fans cause riot
The loss was not taken well by the Etienne fans and they decided to evade the pitch. What followed next couldn’t be described in words at all. It was a visible representation of pandemonium on earth. As the St Etienne fans ran on the pitch throwing flares all around the place.
Many videos and photos circulating on the internet showed the kind of rampage caused by the fans. According to French broadcaster RMC Sport, players of both the teams were escorted to safety.
The club ST Etienne later released a statement in which they condemned the actions of fans. the statement read:
“Despite an exceptional and reinforced system of close to 500 agents, many supporters invaded the pitch at the final whistle of the match against AJ Auxerre… some were then guilty of several degradations and acts of violence towards the players of the game, security agents, the police and the Tribune Pierre-Faurand. The ASSE [St Étienne] strongly condemns these actions and gives its full support to those affected and will initiate the necessary legal proceedings.”
Around 14 police officers, 17 fans, and 2 Auxerre fans are said to have sustained mild injuries during the commotion. The real appreciable fact is the police managed to usher off 1150 away fans to safety.
League 1 is yet to make a statement on this matter.