Marseille president Vincent Labrune has launched an attack on Lyon following Sunday evening’s 1-1 Ligue 1 draw between the clubs, with opposite number Jean-Michel Aulas firing back.
A combative encounter at Stade Velodrome was played out in front of a heated atmosphere that resulted in the sides being withdrawn to the dressing rooms midway through the second half as the visiting players had objects thrown at them from the stands. Lyon were 1-0 up and had a one-man advantage at that point, but OM were fortified by the break and levelled through Karim Rekik to snatch a point.
The controversial stoppage has been the subject of much discussion, but Labrune has hinted at showing sympathy for the home support by indicating that Lyon are used to getting the benefit of refereeing decisions.
“There are teams that are used to playing 11 against 10, like Lyon, and other 10 against 11, like us. Some have more penalty kicks than others, like Lyon, and others less, like OM,” he told Canal+.
“OM has a team of gladiators. I congratulate my players and the coach, who fought an incredible way.”
The president did admit that he will not admonish supporters deemed to have been the lead troublemakers, but lamented a series of cricital decisions against Lyon in recent times, including a controversial call last term, when a shot was deemed not to have crossed the line in a vital tie between the clubs in the race for a Champions League spot.
“There were been incidents, and everyone will assume their responsibility. It was not helped by the circumstances,” he said.
“In our last three games [against Lyon], they have been given an imaginary penalty, and in the second game last season we were not awarded a goal that cost us €35 million. Eventually, it becomes funny. I laugh nervously.
“If the situation got out of hand, we would not be responsible for everything.”
Lyon president Aulas, also speaking to Canal+, fired back: “Everyone knows Vincent. He’s become a guy who has a reputation for having no objectivity.
“The referee was very brave. They must have the courage to enforce rules, including those that protect the safety of the players.
“Vincent is young, he is learning little by little.”
Meanwhile, the outspoken Lyon chief also took time to praise former Marseille playmaker Mathieu Valbuena, who was the subject of jeers throughout the game from the stands – and a number of physical challenges on the field.
“Mathieu responded to his critics beautifully – he deserved to score. We deserved the win very much tonight.”
Lyon find themselves seventh on nine points, while OM are five places and two points worse off.