Evra fired by Marseille, banned by UEFA for kicking fan

By The Canadian Press
November 10, 2017 - 9:00am

NYON, Switzerland — Patrice Evra was fired by Marseille on Friday after being suspended by UEFA for all remaining European games this season for kicking a fan of the French club.

The volatile defender was also fined 10,000 euros ($11,650) by UEFA.

The 36-year-old Evra got into a verbal argument with Marseille supporters before a Europa League match against Portuguese club Vitoria on Nov. 2. He then aimed a kick at the head of one of the Marseille fans before being ushered away by a teammate. The Frenchman was sent off before the game.

Shortly after UEFA banned Evra until June 30, 2018, from its club matches, Marseille said his contract was terminated with "immediate effect."

Evra committed an "irreparable" act by "responding to the disgraceful provocations of a handful of individuals," the club said on its website, adding the decision was taken by "mutual consent."

Marseille said it intended to punish fans for the type of misconduct they showed toward Evra, but did not specify whether it would punish those who insulted the former France defender.

Marseille is well-known for having a powerful fan base that can exert pressure on the club and players alike.

"There's a lot of sadness today. First of all for Patrice Evra, who has obviously understood all the consequences of his act and that he can no longer fulfil his passion (of playing) for Marseille," club president Jacques-Henri Eyraud said. "For Marseille fans, too, who are stigmatized by the irresponsible behaviour from a handful of them."

Before last Sunday's home game against Caen, fans made it clear to Evra he was no longer welcome at the club, holding aloft two banners criticizing him at Stade Velodrome.

"This Game Is Over," read one banner in English, mocking Evra's regular posts on social media where he films himself talking about soccer and says "I love this game" as he breaks into laughter.

Marseille was also charged with invasion of the field by its fans, setting off fireworks, and acts of damage. It must pay Vitoria 25,000 euros ($29,000) within 30 days.

Evra, whose most successful spell as a player came at Manchester United and Juventus, lost his place at Marseille this season to Jordan Amavi. But Evra remained visible on Instagram videos, singing and having fun.

Evra has dropped out of contention for France: His 81st and last appearance was a year ago in a World Cup qualifier against Sweden.

Evra was captain of the 2010 World Cup squad but was blamed for being the orchestrator of a training-ground strike that shocked the nation. Evra received a five-game ban from the French Football Federation after returning from South Africa.

France coach Didier Deschamps was also his coach when Monaco reached the Champions League final in 2004, and picked Evra at last year's European Championship, where France lost in the final to Portugal.

"Decisions have been taken, I'm not here to judge them," Deschamps said. "He's in a very complicated situation, I wouldn't wish anyone to be in this situation."

The Associated Press

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