A number of unsavoury incidents are alleged to have occurred hours before Marseille’s clash with Groningen in the Europa League between the two sets of fans.
According to RMC, several hundred Marseille fans met up with each other in a designated “fan zone” that the town of Groningen has especially set up several hours before kick-off this afternoon.
The area was located in the centre of town, in a square which was surrounded by yellow-vest wearing Dutch police officers. Certain pubs had been reserved solely for Marseille fans, with some menus written in French and even a designated DJ was on hand to play songs that are regular favourites at the Stade Velodrome.
The whole exercise was designed not only to make the Marseille fans enjoy themselves but also to keep them safe before travelling to kick-off. The atmosphere was slightly dampened by small sections of the Marseille fans setting off jets of smoke and firecrackers.
Then, an even smaller group of Marseille fans managed to exit this “fan zone” before charging towards the outside terrace of a café by throwing chairs, bottles, bikes and glasses all of the place, this café being located just off the central square in Groningen.
There are some claims that these Marseille fans were somehow provoked by Dutch fans. The riot police then moved quickly to bring an end to the incident, something they managed to do effectively.
The Dutch police’s big fear before the match was that Marseille fans would clash with Groningen fans before the match, with some of the Dutch club’s fans considered hooligans and dangerous by the local authorities.
The vast majority of the Marseille fans made it to the Euroborg stadium safely on buses especially provided by the town of Groningen. A small number refused the invitation to get on a bus and decided to walk instead, but do not appear to have been involved in any scuffles en route to the stadium.
Heavy rain before the match seems to have prevented “fans” interested in violence from entertaining the idea. Some Marseille fans claim that they spotted local fans last night attempting to incite violence.
La Provence states that nobody has been arrested by the local authorities at the time of writing.