'A first and a last' - Ligue 2 game halted after homophobic chants

A referee in France took strong action after hearing ugly abuse being shouted from fans, bringing the action to a standstill for several minutes

A Ligue 2 match between Nancy and Le Mans was brought to a stop after homophobic chants were heard at the Stade Marcel Picot on Friday night.

The game was halted in the 27th minute by referee Medi Mokhtari with Nancy 1-0 up and the stadium announcer warning the game would be suspended if the abusive chanting didn't stop. 

Players also encouraged the chants to end with play ultimately resuming after a minute and the home side able to claim a dramatic 2-1 win with three players sent off in a frantic affair. 

The momentary stoppage marks the first time a professional football match has been stopped in France because of homophobic chants, with the country's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu hopeful it sends a clear message. 

"I extend my congratulations to referee Mehdi Mokhtari and the delegate of the LFP (Ligue de Football Professionnel) Alain Marseille who took their responsibilities and decided to interrupt the football match between Nancy and Le Mans for homophobic insults," Maracineanu tweeted.

"It's a first. And a last, I hope."

Nancy could now face disciplinary action for the incident with club president Jean-Michel Roussier quick to stress the club won't support such chants but also pointing out they are powerless to completely stop them. 

"I strongly condemn the homophobic insults chanted by some spectators at Marcel-Picot. From the half-time of the match, I moved to the fans to ask them to stop their songs against the opponents and the league," Roussier told Le Parisien.

"I'm going to have a meeting with the different groups this week or sometime next week. It must stop. But at this stage, we can no longer do prevention. You can avoid getting smoke into a stadium, but you can not gag the fans.

"Homophobic insults, there have been for years in all stages of France and it is not possible to solve the problem in a snap of fingers." 

As well as the drama in the stands on Friday night, the match also delivered its fair share on the pitch, with three red cards handed out before Nancy struck a 95th-minute winner to claim their first victory of the season. 

Alain Perrin's side finished 14th last season and currently sit 10th in the French second division.

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