Traveling St. Etienne fans had their bus stoned on their way to Sunday's Ligue 1 match against Nice, which led to disturbing scenes within the stadium before the match began.
Once the St. Etienne supporters were inside the Allianz Riviera, they tore up their seats and threw them at the Nice fans about an hour before kickoff as retribution for the bus attack. The police moved in wearing riot gear and wielding pepper spray to take control of the situation and, according to L'Equipe, 250 St. Etienne fans were evacuated from the stadium before the match began. But not before one dangled over the railing in an attempt to escape the better equipped police force. He was pulled back to safety by his cohorts, though.
The BBC reports that a total of nine fans were injured. Despite the violence, the match went off as scheduled and St. Etienne won 1-0.
St. Etienne released a statement condemning the incident through their official website. It read:
The directors of ASSE strongly condemn the violent behavior of some individuals before the Nice-ASSE match Sunday evening at the Allianz Riviera.
The fact that the bus carrying Etienne supporters was stoned does not excuse the excesses of violence inside the stadium.
Violence between supporters is an unacceptable reality. For several years, the club has made a point of promoting ethical, friendly and festive football. ASSE trust representatives of public safety and justice to determine the exact circumstances of the facts. The club agrees with the Football League and the Ministry of the Interior that football matches should take place in calm stadiums.
The president of the French League decried the violence, saying, "Enough! The few cretins who claim to be supporters do not even realise they ruin the image of football." He also threatened a "systematic ban" on traveling supporters.