Marseille have terminated Patrice Evra’s contract with immediate effect after the veteran defender was suspended by UEFA until the end of this season for kicking out at a supporter.
Evra was red carded before the start of Marseille’s 1-0 Europa League defeat at Vitoria Guimaraes earlier this month after an altercation with a group of travelling fans during the warm-up that boiled over as he aimed a kick at a man’s head.
The Ligue 1 club initially suspended the 36-year-old from duty as UEFA investigated the incident to deem what further punishment was merited on top of a one-match ban.
On Friday, European football’s governing body announced Evra would be suspended from UEFA club competitions until June 30 next year and, shortly afterwards, Marseille issued a statement to confirm they had “decided to end their collaboration” with Evra.
“Since January 2017, Patrice Evra has been exemplary on the pitch and in the locker room,” Marseille said in a statement.
“He played an important role to give a new start to the team, the significant improvement of its results and new, high sporting ambitions.
“Last November 2nd in Guimaraes, he reached the point of no return by responding to unworthy provocations of a handful of individuals.
“However, nothing could justify losing control, especially from a senior player, whose attitude on the pitch and off should inspire the youngest.
“In such a context, the conditions were no longer met for Patrice Evra to accomplish his mission serenely and above all effectively. Both parties agreed and decided to end their collaboration by mutual agreement.
“This incident also highlighted the unacceptable attitude of a small number of people who uttered insults and verbal threats of a rare violence towards the player and his family, and then invaded the pitch, refusing to follow the rules.
“Such behaviour, which expose the club to sanctions, have no place in the stands of a football stadium and at Olympique de Marseille in particular, where love for their team and support for their players make the Marseille public the best in France and a reference [point] for European fans.
“The club is particularly attached to the atmosphere and recognises the tireless and sometimes difficult work of groups of fans, and it intends to punish those of them with that kind of [negative] behaviour.
“In addition, regular meetings with the representatives of the groups will continue and will provide an opportunity to review the measures necessary to prevent such excesses.”
Marseille beat Caen 5-0 on Sunday, with banners unfurled at the Stade Velodrome during the match criticising Evra and telling him to “get out” of the club.
Evra responded by thanking “real” Marseille fans for supporting him, but those dissenting voices now have their wish on the back of UEFA taking a hard line.
“Today, there is sadness,” said Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.
“For Patrice Evra first, who obviously understood all the consequences of his action and who will no longer be able to exercise his passion at Olympique de Marseille.
“For Marseille fans then, who are stigmatised because of the irresponsible behaviour of a handful of them. For the institution, finally, whose reputation is tainted.
“Despite this incident, we are more than ever determined to demonstrate on and off the field that we are driven by the highest individual and collective demands.”