PARIS (AP) The French football league says it will open disciplinary proceedings following the violent incidents that marred a league match between Lille and Montpellier.
Fans of struggling French club Lille charged onto the pitch to confront and threaten the players who drew with Montpellier 1-1 on Saturday.
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The league condemned the violence in a statement on Sunday and said its disciplinary commission will investigate the case during a meeting on Thursday.
At the final whistle, fans spilled onto the field at Stade Pierre-Mauory. Striker Nicolas Pepe was kicked in the leg by one fan and there were more flashpoints between fans and players as stewards struggled to control the situation. Defender Adama Soumaoro was also reportedly struck.
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A line of stewards formed on the side of the pitch to hold back about 200 fans, who were chanting insults at the players and at president Gerard Lopez, just days after Lopez met with fan groups on Monday.
When Lopez became president, he confidently spoke about his ambition to qualify for the Champions League within a few seasons. But Lille, which won the French league and cup double in 2011, is next-to-last with only nine games left.
Saturday’s brutal home defeat to Paris Saint-Germain was the least of Lille’s problems, as the club faces relegation.
Although Christophe Galtier’s side isn’t currently in Ligue 1’s bottom three, Lille could be in some serious hot water, as reports out of France suggest that the club could be relegated due to financial incompetency.
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L’Equipe is reporting that the club’s serious debt could leave Lille in Ligue 2 next season if things don’t improve on the club’s financial front in the near future.
The French outlet suggests that the club was in desperate need of selling some of its players during the January transfer window to make room in its financial space, however, Lille did not proceed to do so.
Meanwhile, the team’s current standing in Ligue 1 hasn’t done Lille any favors in terms of where they’ll be playing in 2018/19.
Lille sits in 17th place at the moment on 25 points, just one point above the relegation zone.
LILLE, France (AP) A four-man coaching team will take provisional charge of French soccer club Lille in the wake of Marcelo Bielsa’s dismissal.
Lille says Fernando Da Cruz, Joao Sacramento, Benoit Delaval and Franck Mantaux will be in charge of the team until further notice.
Lille announced earlier this week that Bielsa had been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club” following a 3-0 loss at Amiens.
The northern side is in 19th place and next travels Saturday to Montpellier, which has the best defense in the league.
Bielsa joined Lille this season but failed to make the club competitive. After finishing a disappointing 11th last season, Lille hired the coach – affectionately known as El Loco Bielsa (Crazy Bielsa) – with the aim of returning to the Champions League.
LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.
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The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.
Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.
PARIS (AP) A steward from Lille said he had warned Amiens officials that the barrier which collapsed during a French league match between the two northern clubs was faulty.
In an interview with L’Equipe newspaper published Monday, Jean-Claude Buisine said the visitors’ stand at the Stade de la Licorne in Amiens did not have enough capacity for the 550 away fans, and that the barrier was defective.
Buisine, who sustained minor back injuries in the accident, said he and his colleagues had warned Amiens officials before the game that the barrier was badly attached and that it was moving.
“It’s a disgrace to confine people in a thing like that,” Buisine said about the stand. “It’s a case of gross security negligence. This stadium is very, very dangerous.”
The hospital in Amiens said 29 people were injured in the collapse.
The French league said its disciplinary committee would be starting an inquiry on Thursday. If Amiens is found responsible, it faces a number of possible sanctions: a fine, playing a match with either part or all of its stadium closed, or even a point penalty.
The Amiens prosecutor has already opened an investigation to determine the causes of the accident.
The match between Amiens and Lille was stopped Saturday after the opening goal in the 15th minute. Fode Ballo-Toure had just scored for Lille when he ran over to a section of visiting fans behind the goal to celebrate. As fans surged forward, the fence collapsed under their weight. Fans tumbled onto the field and the match was immediately halted.