Why Nice vs FC Koln in the Europa Conference League was delayed amid fan violence

Kick-off was delayed in the Europa Conference League game between Nice vs FC Koln because of violent clashes between rival supporters.

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Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
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Nice vs FC Koln | Sporty Point

Kick-off was delayed in the Europa Conference League game between Nice vs FC Koln because of violent clashes between rival supporters.

 Fans clashed violently in the stands ahead of kick-off, with the decision being made to delay the start of the game. After the UEFA Security Council met, it was decided that the game should proceed, with kick-off delayed until 18:40.

Nice vs FC Koln: violence | Sportz Point

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Governing body UEFA said the match was 'delayed due to crowd disturbance' after footage on social media showed masked thugs fighting in the stadium and flares being thrown.

French outlet RMC Sport reported that one supporter was seriously injured after falling from a stand. Police intervened but the players had not started warming up shortly before the originally scheduled 18:45 (17:40 BST) kick off.

Provided things settle down in time for the new start time, Nice are in line to start several of their summer signings, including Jean-Clair Todibo and Marcin Bulka. Fellow new arrival Kasper Schmeichel has been named on the bench, while neither Aaron Ramsey nor Ross Barkley are involved.

"Unfortunately the game between ourselves and Nice has been delayed due to violent clashes between the fan groups in the stadium and on the stands. We are currently discussing the background, a UEFA security meeting is taking place," a Koln statement read.

" condemn every form of violence in the strongest possible terms," they said in tweet. "We stand for a sporting, fair and respectful behaviour with one another.

"We apologise to all the peaceful fans who had made it a football festival up until this point."

Cologne captain Jonas Hector had addressed the crowd through the PA system and called for calm.

"We really want to play the game with you. We also want that game to take place. But we have to say that we do not like to see this," he said.

"We worked hard last year and in the play-off. And we would very much like to do this with you and we ask you to keep calm and support us as much as possible."

When the game eventually started, the two teams played out a 1-1 draw. Steffen Tigges opened the scoring for Cologne but Andy Delort's second-half penalty secured a draw. 

Around 15,000 Cologne fans had travelled to France for the match and taken over the main square in the city during the day.

Nice vs FC Koln: Violence 2 | Sportz Point

Image- Daily Mail

It was similar to the scenes which marred Cologne's Europa League match at Arsenal in 2017, when the kick of was delayed following crowd trouble.

Arsenal confirmed that the 8.05pm start would be put back an hour after Cologne supporters reportedly stormed the barriers at the north London stadium.

Arsenal confirmed that the 8.05pm start would be put back an hour after Cologne supporters reportedly stormed the barriers at the north London stadium.

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