Eight-year-old Marseille supporter with brain cancer brutally attacked by Ajaccio fans
| Last updated
Supporters of Ligue 1 side AC Ajaccio attacked an eight-year-old Marseille supporter with brain cancer in disgusting events on Saturday, as Ajaccio condemned the 'unspeakable acts'.
The game itself was overshadowed by a horrible incident where the club's fans attacked eight-year-old Marseille supporter Kenzo, who has severe brain cancer, and punched his father twice.
Kenzo's shirt was ripped off him and burnt by the Ajaccio fans amid major crowd trouble.
RMC Sport also reported some racist chants being made inside the stadium, and footage of a journalist being attacked on a quite shameful night in France.
Ajaccio have since made a statemtn, saying: "On April 25, AC Ajaccio had the pleasure of hosting... little Kenzo, who is suffering from cancer. He had expressed his dream of meeting the players of Marseille, the club of his city and his heart. Kenzo and his family were invited so that the child could realise his dream during the match this evening.
"The dream quickly turned into a nightmare when Kenzo and his parents, who came in the colours of Marseille, were shamefully abused by individuals who broke into their dressing room. Alerted (to the incident), the security of the club intervened.
"Kenzo and his family were taken care of by the club's security and escorted to the changing room area so that the child could fulfil his dream. These individuals in no way represent the values of our club and our island.
"Even the most extreme stupidity cannot excuse these behaviors! The club strongly condemns these unspeakable acts! AC Ajaccio will shed full light on these shameful actions. As soon as the individuals have been identified by our services, we will file a complaint against them. AC Ajaccio is in solidarity with little Kenzo and his parents."
Initially invited to the game by Ajaccio chiefs, Kenzo was left injured following the attack with his father receiving two punches, before their shirts were forcibly removed and set on fire.
The family were given security protection within the ground's changing rooms, which ultimately meant that Kenzo could meet several Marseille players, including his facourite, ex-Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.
Kenzo's mother Amandine told French publication Corse-Martin that roughly 10 Ajaccio supporters burst into the box where the family was staying.
She said: "Since we thought we were safe, I allowed Kenzo to put on his shirt, my husband took him by the hand to show him the players walking onto the field. And everything went wrong.
"They pushed my son and his head hit the railing. They hit my husband in the face, ripped off the little one's shirt and went to burn it. Before leaving the dressing room, they even spat in the food that was on the floor at our disposal.
"Kenzo is well aware that he is very seriously ill, he is losing his sight due to his tumour and he said to me: 'Before I see nothing more, I want to see OM in Ajaccio'... These fools traumatised him."
Both sets of fans had clashed in Corsica prior to the game, with objects reportedly being thrown.
A journalist for TV channel France Three was also hit in the face, and had to be taken to hospital by a fire engine.
Stephanie Freedman of Journal L'Alsace tweeted: "Thank you all from Kenzo and his family for your immense support and solidarity. I showed your messages to Kenzo, who is very touched. He is recovering slowly. His exchange with his idol @MatteoGuendouzi gave him some comfort."
As for the actual game, Ajaccio won 1-0 after an 88th-minute goal from defender Clement Vidal, though it meant little for Ajaccio, who are already confirmed to be relegated to Ligue 2, whereas Marseille have finished third, reaching the 2023/24 Champions League qualifiers.