Lyon apologise for 'anti-semitic' attack on Tottenham fans
Three Spurs fans hospitalised after incident in city centre last night
Thursday 21 February 2013
Lyon have apologised for an apparent anti-Semitic attack which hospitalised three Tottenham fans in the French city last night.
Around 50 masked thugs, some of whom were reportedly making fascist salutes, attacked a group of 150 Spurs fans who had gathered in the Smoking Dog pub in Lyon last night ahead of the Europa League game between the two sides this evening.
Eyewitnesses say the group of attackers smashed doors and threw cast-iron chairs, wooden objects, and a lit flare into the pub, which is popular among ex-pats in the French city.
The French club this afternoon issued a strongly-worded statement, condemning the "inadmissible" actions of the thugs who terrified the visiting fans and caused damage estimated to be worth £3,000.
"Olympique Lyonnais deplore the incidents overnight in the Saint-Jean district between the supporters of Tottenham and the 'pseudo' supporters of Lyon who absolutely do not represent the club," a Lyon statement read.
"Olympique Lyonnais apologises to Tottenham and its supporters, for the inadmissible acts which degrade the image of the town of Lyon.
"Olympique Lyonnais call on the French justice system to impose severe sanctions for these reprehensible acts."
Lyon, who are looking to overcome a 2-1 first-leg deficit in the last 32 tie, urged fans to behave themselves at tonight's second leg, which kicks off at 6pm GMT.
"Olympique Lyonnais will welcome Tottenham supporters this evening at (Stade de) Gerland and calls for all the supporters, those from Lyon and the English fans, to support their team with respect and fair play," the statement continued.
Tottenham confirmed this morning that three fans sustained "minor injuries" in the attack, and that arrests had been made.
It is the second time that Tottenham fans have been targeted by an apparent anti-Semitic attack in the last three months. In November, fans of the club, which has a traditionally strong Jewish following, were ambushed inside a pub in Rome on the eve of their game against Lazio.
Eyewitnesses inside the Smoking Dog said the thugs attacked the bar at 10.18pm on Wednesday night and then returned shortly after to launch another assault on the pub, which had its front five doors smashed.
Far-right thugs were blamed for the knife attack on Tottenham's supporters in Rome and eyewitnesses Liam Kirwan from Harrow claimed the attack could have had an anti-Semitic motive.
"It was neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic," he said.
"I have never seen anything like that before.
"This was premeditated. Three people walked past earlier in the night and saw that the pub was full of Tottenham fans. Then a group of 50 came back to attack, and then 25 did shortly after.
"It's a pretty scary thing when you're confronted by people doing Nazi salutes."
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