MARSEILLE • Uefa have charged Marseille defender Patrice Evra with violent conduct after a scuffle between the player and a club supporter before a Europa League game at Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal, European football's governing body said yesterday.
He was sent off after he aimed a kick at a Marseille fan at the side of the pitch during the warm-up at the Afonso Henriques stadium.
The 36-year-old will be banned for at least one match, with the Uefa control, ethics and disciplinary body set to rule on the incident next Friday.
Marseille have also been charged by Uefa with a field invasion by supporters, setting off of fireworks and "acts of damages" during their 1-0 defeat in Portugal.
Regarding Evra, Marseille yesterday said in a statement: "No matter what happens, a professional player must maintain self-control despite provocations and insults, no matter how unjustified they may be."
Evra was confronted by a group of supporters after they managed to get out of an area reserved for around 500 travelling Marseille fans.
Stewards at the ground quickly intervened to break up the fracas, with Evra, who was originally listed as a substitute, ordered to return to the dressing room by the referee.
"Pat has experience, and he must not react, it's obvious," said Marseille coach Rudi Garcia whose side also had Boubacar Kamara sent off three minutes from time.
"He must learn to keep his cool. That's all I can say."
Garcia, however, blasted the fan who taunted Evra at the compact stadium.
"He's not a supporter of Marseille because you can't insult your own players, you have to be behind all of us," he added.
The incident brought back memories of another act of gongfu-kick madness by a former French footballer.
In January 1995, Eric Cantona, then playing for Manchester United, launched a flying kick at a Crystal Palace supporter at Selhurst Park who had jeered him after he had been sent off.
Cantona's assault led to a nine-month ban handed down by the English Football Association.
According to football statisticians Opta on Thursday: "Patrice Evra is the first player to be sent off before the start of a match in the history of the Europa League."
Evra, also a former United star, has received heavy criticism for his poor performances this season and has lost his place in the first team to on-loan Aston Villa left-back Jordan Amavi.