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Second Ligue 1 match in three days halted for homophobic banner in Metz-PSG clash

7:47 PM GMT 30/08/2019
PSG Metz banners
Just 48 hours after Nice-Marseille was temporarily postponed, officials were once more forced to stop the ball rolling in Friday's match

Metz's meeting with Paris Saint-Germain became the latest Ligue 1 clash to be paused when home fans unfurled a banner sporting a homophobic message. 

The reigning league champions kicked off their fourth game of the 2019-20 on Friday after beginning the season with two wins and a defeat. 

And they enjoyed a positive start when Angel Di Maria fired them ahead after 11 minutes from the penalty spot. 

Moments later, however, the action was ground to a halt due to an offensive missive spotted among Metz fans. 

"PSG, LFP, let me sing to you, to tell you to go f*** yourselves! I won't be on TV, because my words are not very gay," the banner read, violating Ligue 1 regulations on homophobia in stadiums. 

As a result referee Frank Schneider stopped play until the offending words were removed from sight, causing a temporary interruption to proceedings. 

It is the second time in just three days that such a measure has been deemed necessary as the French top flight attempts to crack down on discrimination from fans with this zero tolerance policy. 

On Wednesday, Nice's clash with Marseille was also held up while two homophobic signs appeared in the stands. 

A delay of around five minutes followed before the match got back under way, with Nice player Wylan Cyprien critical of the interruption.

"We can't stop a game every time that stupid people act like that," Cyprian said to Canal+. "I am against every discrimination, homophobia or racism.

"But we can't stop games for that. It's ridiculous."

Referees in France have been instructed to stop matches if homophobic banners are displayed, or homophobic chanting is heard, during the 2019-20 season.

The Ligue 2 match between Nancy and Le Mans on August 16 was the first to be temporarily suspended, while a referee threatened to do the same during the meeting of Monaco and Nimes in the top flight on Sunday.

And this latest infraction suggests that officials will be forced to act repeatedly in their efforts to enforce the message that such hate speech is not welcome in French football.