Lyon president admits club should have reacted more strongly over Payet bottle attack

This article is over 1 year old • Pierre-Michel Aulas apologises after drink container flies onto pitch • West Ham’s record buy was struck by bottle in Ligue 1 match Lyon’s president, Pierre-Michel Aulas,…

Lyon president admits club should have reacted more strongly over Payet bottle attack

This article is over 1 year old

• Pierre-Michel Aulas apologises after drink container flies onto pitch • West Ham’s record buy was struck by bottle in Ligue 1 match

Lyon’s president, Pierre-Michel Aulas, has admitted his club should have reacted more strongly after the bottle attack on Dimitri Payet during a game at Nice last week.

Payet was hit by a bottle thrown from the crowd during the 2-2 draw with his former club West Ham. Several of the bottle-throwers also ran on to the pitch and one was held back by a steward while others were swiftly ushered away.

“We’re all very angry about what happened, but at the same time, we have to focus and win the rest of the season,” Aulas told L’Equipe. “We just cannot respond the way that a glass bottle could have affected the player.

“I’ve heard that when the player was on the pitch, he was so close to me that I could really feel it hit him. Unfortunately, after that, we had to watch him as a wounded animal, a player isolated from his team-mates. But I’m not saying Lyon won’t behave differently from now on. I want to make this clear.”

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Aulas, who has a long history of supporter violence towards players and officials, even spoke to Payet and the winger accepted that Lyon needed to show tougher action.

“Fortunately Payet will not be sidelined for too long because he is an exemplary player and a family man,” Aulas said. “I tried to tell him that I was very angry about the incident, but he understood.”

Aulas said he hoped Lyon would face a similar experience in future.

“We don’t want it to happen to anyone again,” he said. “We will pay careful attention to what happened after the match, and will investigate the cause of the incident.”

During a pitch invasion, Aulas was left so shocked that he could not speak. Instead, his assistants began shouting for help.

“We watched everything on the sidelines, and could feel him being wounded,” Aulas said. “I have never experienced anything like it.”

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