Patrice Evra suspended by Marseille after kicking fan, awaits disciplinary action

The former Manchester United left back was suspended by the Ligue 1 club with immediate effect

Europa League - Playoffs – NK Domzale v Olympique Marseille
Patrice Evra in action Reuters

Olympique Marseille have suspended Patrice Evra after he kicked a fan in the head before his side's Europa League defeat at Vitoria Guimaraes on Thursday. Video footage showed the 36-year-old former Manchester United defender aiming an acrobatic kick at a supporter at the side of the pitch during the warm-up.

Also read: Indian boxing star Mary Kom enters Asian Boxing Championship quarter finals

"Jacques-Henri Eyraud, president of Marseille, met Patrice Evra today and informed him of his lay-off with immediate effect and a summons to an interview prior to a possible disciplinary sanction," a statement from the French club said.

A Marseille statement also condemned the "unacceptable behaviour" by a "handful of provocateurs".

European football's governing body Uefa charged France international Evra with violent conduct earlier on Friday, with the full-back suspended for "at least one game". Evra will be interviewed before any disciplinary action is decided, according to the BBC.

French newspaper L'Equipe reported that Marseille supporters had been jeering Evra for about half an hour while the players prepared for the game, which the Ligue 1 side lost 1-0.

The player had gone over to the fans to talk to them, but the situation escalated.

Marseille's supporters have been unimpressed with the Frenchman's performances this season and broke past barriers at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques to confront Evra. Having been drawn into an argument with the fans who were aiming negative chants at the player, Evra responded by aiming a high kick over the advertising boards towards a fan standing on the other side, as per the Independent.

Evra was subsequently sent off by the referee before the game had even started. Because the left-back was listed a substitute, Marseille started the match with a full starting XI.

"As a professional and experienced player, Patrice Evra could not respond in such an inappropriate way," the statement added.

"In addition, the first results of the internal investigation conducted by the club reveal unacceptable behaviour on the part of a handful of provocateurs who uttered particularly serious hateful attacks against the player, even though the latter and his team-mates warmed up for an important game."

Evra is almost certain to face a more severe sanction from Uefa, following scenes reminiscent of Eric Cantona's infamous kung-fu kick at Selhurst Park in 1995.

Marseille boss Rudi Garcia revealed afterwards that Evra had reacted to taunts from the fans, but still criticised his actions, according to the Telegraph.

"Pat has experience and he must not react, it's obvious," Garcia was quoted by L'Equipe as telling BeIN Sports.

"Patrice is a more than experienced player and we cannot respond to insults so low and so incredible because they come from one of our supporters."

On the fan, Garcia said: "He is not a supporter of OM (Marseille), because you cannot insult your own players, you have to be behind everyone."