Marseille in riot

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The Independent Online
OVERSEAS FOOTBALL Olympique Marseille's Frenchleague home match against Nancy was abandoned last night as rioting spectators clashed with police, threw missiles and invaded the pitch.

Shortly after Nancy made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute, tension mounted as about 100 supporters clashed violently with police. The referee, George Ramos, decided immediately to halt the Second Division match.

"I acted according to my soul and conscience," the referee said. "Excited fans were putting the safety of players at peril. In such circumstances, the wise thing was to call off the match."

However, a belligerent Marseille vice-president, Jean-Louis Levreau, said: "Bernard Tapie left Marseille so that the club would have some peace. But the lynching process is continuing. Mr Ramos was sent to the stadium to continue this process of assassination. The attitude of the referee was scandalous."

Marseille were stripped of the European Cup and relegated after a bribes scandal, and in September 1993, Marseille's match against Metz was interrupted by a pitch invasion. The stadium was then closed for one game.

Diego Maradona, the former captain of Argentina, was jailed for an hour in Buenos Aires yesterday after a judge rejected his explanation for violating a court order. The court was told that Maradona had left Argentina without permission, thereby violating a sentence for shooting an air rifle at journalists last summer.

The judge sent him to jail, but an hour later, Maradona, who failed a drugs test at the World Cup, was freed after securing another bail agreement.

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