France’s equality minister Marlene Schiappa said the banners had sullied the stands while Nice coach Patrick Vieira said referee Clement Turpin had been left with “no choice.”
Play was stopped in the first half for around 10 minutes and players left the field over the banners displayed by Nice fans.
French media also reported homophobic chanting during the match which Marseille won 2-1.
One banner referred to Tuesday’s takeover of Nice by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who also owns the Team Ineos cycling team.
The banner used the word “pedale” which means “to pedal” but is also a derogatory term used to define gay people.
Another banner read: “More fans in the stands means a more gay stadium.”
“The referee was right to stop the match,” said Vieira, the former Arsenal and France midfielder.
“These things are unacceptable. The message was clear, and the referee didn’t have a choice.
“He could have maybe given us a bit more time to go and see the supporters and to ask them to remove the banner. But he explained things to me that I fully understand.
“I hope that this won’t happen again, in Nice or in any stadium.”
Vieira’s opposite number Andre Villas-Boas agreed the referee made the “right decision”.
Schiappa said in a Tweet that Nice fans had ignored “several requests” to withdraw the banners.
“Football is passion, not hate,” she said.
The French league has promised to crack down on homophobic chanting this season which has already seen a second tier match between Nancy and Le Mans interrupted.
Homophobic chanting is deeply ingrained in some Latin American countries, especially when the visiting goalkeeper runs up to take a goal kick, and FIFA dealt with several dozen cases during the qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup.
Mexico were sanctioned 12 times — two warnings and 10 fines — while Chile were on three occasions ordered to play away from their National Stadium, although they simply moved the games to alternative arenas in Santiago.
Soccer: Five coronavirus cases in Spain’s top two divisions
La Liga said the players would remain at their homes where they would continue individual training before being tested again “in the next few days” to determine whether they can return to their club’s training ground.
Many clubs including champions Barcelona have returned to individual training as part of the second stage of La Liga’s four-phase protocol for getting back to activity after play was halted in early March due to the pandemic.
La Liga, who last week said it was hoping to resume matches without spectators in June, said detecting positive cases was vital to its programme for returning to activity.
“One of the objectives of these tests was to detect asymptomatic cases. That way, we guarantee everyone’s safety as we return to work and comply with rules on workplace safety,” added the statement.
La Liga has warned all participants of the training sessions to not relax the recommended safety measures at facilities or their homes to ensure the number of infections remains low.”
The statement added that the league would not divulge the names of infected players due to data protection laws.
Real Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro said on Saturday he was one of the players to test positive.
“Many thanks for the messages of support, I tested negative on the PCR test and all I have are remains of antibodies which will be gone soon and soon other antibodies will appear telling me I am cured.
“I will return to training soon but for now I’ll have to keep training hard on the indoor bicycle,” he wrote on Twitter.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
Soccer : Barcelona FC return to training
Reuters) Barcelona Football Club trained on Friday for the first time in nearly two months as the team held their first individual session as part of the league’s four-phase plan to return to action after measures to halt the Coronavirus were eased.
Barcelona tested all their players for COVID-19 on Wednesday and Captain Lionel Messi was among those seen out on the Joan Gamper training complex conducting individual dribbling and running exercises.
All players trained with the exception of Ousmane Dembele, who is recovering from a hamstring injury and is not registered to play for the rest of the season due to Barca signing Martin Braithwaite in February.
Individual training is the second phase of La Liga’s detailed protocol for returning to activity designed to avoid players being infected with the virus.
Players will start training in small groups within the next two weeks and progress to full training before resuming matches, which La Liga says it hopes to start up again by June although it has yet to confirm dates for fixtures.
Barcelona lead the standings with 11 matches remaining and hold a two-point lead over Real Madrid, who are due to begin training on Monday.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
COVID-19: Kebbi Beach Soccer Foundation donates hand sanitizers to curb spread
The Kebbi State Beach Soccer Foundation has donated 10 cartons of hand sanitisers and soaps to Medicaid Cancer Foundation, to minimise spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.
Malam Yahaya Sarki, Special Adviser to Gov. Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu of Kebbi State on Media, stated this in a statement in Birnin Kebbi.
He said the Medicaid Cancer Foundation was championed by the wife of the Kebbi State Governor, Dr Zainab Bagudu.
Sarki said the donation was made during a recent courtesy call on the governor’s wife, who is also the Grand Matron of Kebbi Beach Soccer Team.
Presenting the items, Malam Abdullahi Yahaya, Secretary of the Foundation, said the gesture was part of their support for the Medicaid Team.
Yahaya said the items were meant for Medicaid Team to be used in their various sensitisation programmes and interventions in the communities towards curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Responding, the governor’s wife lauded the Beach Soccer Team for their thoughtfulness and counseled them on the need to postpone this year’s tournament due to the pandemic.
She disclosed that Medicaid Cancer Foundation had joined other agencies and civil society organisations to sensitise residents in parts of Kebbi and Zamfara States, as well as FCT, Abuja.
Bagudu said the foundation was distributing sanitary materials and food items to deserving citizens in those areas.
Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Ifeyinwa Omowole (NAN)
Soccer: German clubs resume training amid tight virus restrictions
Bundesliga clubs were allowed to return to team training on Monday, with some opting to train players in small groups amid strict measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Soccer in the country had been suspended for almost a month and the German Football League (DFL) said the ban would remain in place for the top divisions at least until April 30.
Clubs, however, were given the all clear to resume training this week, with champions Bayern Munich deciding to train players in small groups to minimise the risk of infection.
“Obviously all health guidelines are being adhered to.
“Obviously the training is closed to the public. FC Bayern are asking fans to continue following guidelines and please do not come to the team’s training centre,” the club said in a statement.
Germany has seen the number of infected people rise above 100,000 this weekend and nearly 1,600 have died after testing positive for the virus that has forced the country into lockdown.
Despite the resumption of training the DFL made it clear last week it was not known if or when the season would resume, and the stop in play has also had major financial effects on clubs.
Two weeks ago Borussia Dortmund, Bayern, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen came together to create a 20 million euros (17.59 million pounds) solidarity fund to help clubs in the top two tiers.
Dortmund have also provided part of their Signal Iduna Park stadium for the treatment of suspected virus cases.
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Salif Atojoko