By Tim Stannard
Nice's south stand to close for four games as punishments begin for Sunday's Marseille match mayhem
The first of a very, very, very, very, very long line of punishments has been flung at those involved in the crowd/player/Jorge Sampaoli /backroom staff violence which ended Sunday's Nice vs. Marseille Ligue 1 clash.
Nice have been the first to suffer consequences with the local Alpes-Maritimes region ordering the closure of the stadium's Popular South stand for four home games. That part of the Allianz Arena was the source of the trouble in Sunday's match. It's the first of what could be a stream of punishments from a local and national governmental level with France's Minister for Sport, Roxana Maracineanu, warning that "I reserve the right to press charges against this aggression."
Wednesday is another day for possible punishments with the French League holding a disciplinary meeting where officials from Nice and Marseille will have to explain themselves. While Nice's main issue will be answering serious questions on security, Marseille will need to justify a) alleged aggression from players and backroom staff and b) not returning to finish the final 15 minutes game when the referee ordered it.
Marseille will argue that the club are the victims of a violent environment where it simply wasn't safe to return to the pitch - where they had already been attacked - and that the game should not be forfeited in Nice's favor.
Ligue 1 might need more than the one session to sift through Sunday's debacle.
Scientists baffled by sudden interest in Reims vs PSG game on Sunday
The match is already sold out with ticket requests coming in from all over the world from folk wanting to visit this beautiful cathedral city halfway between Paris and the Belgian border. Any why not? Who wouldn't want to visit the famous stained-glass windows of the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims or sample some champagne in many of the city's tasting cellars.
Journalists are certainly keen on the idea with reportedly hundreds of requests for places in the Stade Auguste Delaune for Sunday's game. Even the Washington Post and Forbes want in on the action.
Of course, the sudden interest in traveling to Reims might be due to Sunday's game expected to be the first minutes in a PSG jersey for a certain Lionel Messi. Scientists are still investigating the theory.
If you can't get to Reims in time for the weekend then beIN SPORTS has you covered with coverage beginning of Sunday's match between Reims and PSG from 2PM ET / 11AM PT.