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Lyon want Marseille game on neutral ground after bus attack

A close-up of the Lyon team coach shows damage to some of the windows
Lyon warned after the attack that an "even more serious tragedy" could occur if action is not taken

Lyon will appeal against the decision to make them face Marseille in front of home fans because they want to "play football without being afraid".

Lyon's bus was attacked by Marseille supporters on 29 October, forcing the Stade Velodrome game to be postponed.

The French League (LFP) has rearranged the match for 6 December and say fans will be allowed to attend.

"We want to play the game on neutral ground," Lyon director of football Vincent Ponsot said.

Lyon manager Fabio Grosso sustained facial injuries and his assistant Raffaele Longo was also struck by projectiles, when the bus was hit by rocks on its way to Marseille's ground.

On Thursday, French Ligue 1 bosses confirmed the rearranged midweek match will be played at 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT).

"We want to be able to play football without being afraid or without taking any risks," Ponsot added.

"We are not going to stop here. We owe it to the players and the staff."

But he said: "We don't want there to be any sporting punishment because the Marseille players had nothing to do with it."

The rivalry between the two clubs is one of the most intense in French football.

In 2021, a match between the two clubs in Lyon was called off when Marseille forward Dimitri Payet was struck by a bottle thrown from the home fans. Lyon were later docked a point for the crowd trouble.

The planned game a fortnight ago was the first time in several years that Lyon fans had been allowed to travel.

French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said that seven arrests had been made after six coaches with Lyon fans were also targeted before the match.

Social media images showed a bloodied Grosso lying on a stretcher and Lyon president John Textor told Prime Video the Italian had "shards of glass in his face".

The club initially wanted to play the match, but opinions changed following news of the injuries to Grosso and Longo, with the players' mental states also taken into account.

In statements, Lyon said it "regrets that this type of situation occurs every year in Marseille", while Marseille said it "deplores the unacceptable incidents".

Last week, Lille said 250 of their fans had been banned from travelling to the Stade Velodrome for their league game because of safety concerns following the incident.

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