Marseille defender Patrice Evra has been banned by UEFA for seven months for his kick to the head of a fan last week.
Evra, formerly of Manchester United and Juventus, was sent off before a Europa League match in Portugal when he responded to a verbal altercation with traveling Marseille fans with the karate-style kick.
UEFA, the European soccer governing body, levied the punishment, which will prevent Evra from playing in European competitions through the end of the season. Evra and Marseille subsequently agreed to terminate his contract.
“Patrice Evra has been exemplary on the field and in the locker room. He played an important role in reviving the team and in the improvement of results. However, on Nov. 2 in Guimaraes he committed an irreparable act by responding to provocations from a handful of individuals. Nothing justified such a reaction, especially from a senior player whose attitude both on and off the pitch should inspire the youngest of us.
“In that context, the conditions were no longer right for Patrice Evra to accomplish his mission here with serenity or, above all, effectively. Both parties agreed to end the collaboration by mutual consent.
“This incident also highlighted the unacceptable attitude of a small number of people who uttered insults and threats of violence towards the player and his family before contemptuously invading the pitch. Such behavior, which exposes the club to sanctions, has no place in the stands of a football stadium and at Marseille in particular.”
Evra’s ban pertains to all UEFA club competitions, and stretches until June 30, 2018. The specifics have a few key consequences, though.
First of all, the ban does not extend to domestic competitions. Evra could still play for a French club in Ligue 1, or for another European club in that club’s domestic league. He could also play for clubs in the Americas, Asia or Africa. Evra, who’s now out of contract, could therefore sign with a club in, say, China or MLS at any time and be eligible for all competitions.
The suspension also apparently does not apply to international matches, meaning Evra could still represent France at the 2018 World Cup, if he’s selected.
But other continental governing bodies, or national federations, or indeed clubs, could decide to adopt UEFA’s ban and bar Evra from their own competitions. France’s FA, for example, could decide to levy its own suspension, independent of UEFA’s. Other FAs could do likewise.
Evra was also fined 10,000 euros by UEFA for the incident.