Gas leak postpones Marseille Cup game

Gas leak postpones Marseille Cup game

ROUEN, France - Agence France-Presse
Gas leak postpones Marseille Cup game

Rouen player Nicolas Burel (L) vies for the ball during a French cup game. AFP photo

Today’s gas leak at a chemical plant in northern France, which left local people complaining of feeling sick, has forced the postponement of a French Cup tie between Rouen and Marseille, the host club revealed.

“Following the gas leak at the Lubrizol factory the prefect for the Seine-Maritime (department) passed a prefectoral decree calling off the round-of-32 match against Olympique Marseille initially slated for this evening,” Rouen said.

Departmental prefecture head of cabinet Florence Gouache explained the postponement was a precautionary measure.

“We did not want to find ourselves with 10,000 fans two kilometres from the factory and with no means of confining them or evacuating them if necessary,” Gouache told AFP.

The French Football Federation (FFF) said it agreed to the postponement after discussions with the prefectural office, noting the chemical plant was “very” close to the Rouen stadium at Petit-Quevilly, just outside the city.

Marseille players took to social media to give their reaction, striker Andre-Pierre Gignac tweeting: “Match postponed - going home!! Early morning wake-up call for nothing!!” 

‘Not end of the world’
Marseille’s English midfielder and Twitter enthusiast Joey Barton added: “Just got 
all the way to Rouen. Game called off. Hahaha. Back on the plane. Ah well, it’s not the end of the world.” 

The leak in the picturesque Normandy city caused a stench which wafted as far as Paris some 100kms away, leaving many people in the region complaining of sickness and headaches. However, authorities insisted the gas, mercaptan, was harmless.

Snow had already threatened the game - a 12,000 sellout - although a pitch inspection yesterday had led to the match being given the go-ahead prior to the gas leak.