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French football clubs thrown out of national cup for fan violence

Fan violence during a French Cup clash between Paris FC and Lyon has led to both clubs being sanctioned. It is the latest in a serious of violent incidents that have blighted French football this season.

Lyon and Paris FC have both been sanctioned by the French Football Federation for fan violence.
Lyon and Paris FC have both been sanctioned by the French Football Federation for fan violence. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

Paris FC and Lyon were both thrown out of the French Cup on Monday for the hooliganism that forced their December 17 tie to be called off at half-time.

The teams were all square at 1-1 in Paris when fans spilled onto the pitch at Charlety Stadium following incidents in the stands.

Rather than try to finish the match, the disciplinary commission of the French Football Federation (FFF) decided to expel both teams.

READ MORE How France will tackle spike in football hooliganism

The FFF statement said it had “decided that the two clubs are responsible for the incidents that occurred during the match,”  even though the presidents of the two clubs had been blaming each other.

The decision means Nice, drawn to face the winner of the tie in the next round, go straight through to the last 16.

The commission also fined second-division Paris FC 10,000 euros (11,320 dollars) and Lyon, who have already had a point deducted in Ligue 1 for fan misbehaviour this season, 52,000 euros.

The commission also handed Lyon a suspended ban from the cup and forbidden to take fans to away games in the league for the rest of the season.

READ MORE France football star Karim Benzema found guilty over sex tape blackmail

Lyon had already announced that they would ban their fan groups from travelling to away matches.

Paris FC will have to play five home matches behind closed doors.

After smoke bombs and flares were thrown back and forth in the stands and fighting broke out fans fled onto the pitch and the  police intervened.

Two people, a supporter and a policeman, were injured.

Although no arrests were made at the time, three fans from Paris were later arrested and two  have been charged.

READ MORE French football match abandoned after bottle thrown from crowd

The incident was the latest in a series at French stadiums this season.

It is the second match this season involving Lyon fans which has had to be abandoned — their home league game with Marseille was called off after OM captain Dimitri Payet was hit on the head with a plastic bottle.

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CRIME

New police chief to help Paris move on from football fiasco

A new Paris police chief took office on Thursday, tasked with proving to the world that the French capital can handle mass events despite the disastrous handling of a recent Champions League match.

New police chief to help Paris move on from football fiasco

Laurent Nunez, 58, took over from Didier Lallement who during his three-year stint was often criticised for heavy-handed police action, most recently at a Liverpool-Real Madrid game on May 28.

Faced with the build-up of frustrated crowds around the Stade de France, police used tear gas and pepper spray to move them back, also harming many children as well as disabled fans in wheelchairs.

Officials say Lallemant’s departure was not linked to the football fiasco, but Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin left no doubt that he expects Nunez to help fix Paris’s tarnished image as the capital prepares to host the summer Olympics in 2024.

“You will be the police chief in charge of the Olympic Games, and the entire police service must be focused on that task,” he said at Thursday’s handover ceremony.

Paris will also host the Rugby World Cup next year.

Among sources of friction between Lallemant and city hall, as well as President Emmanuel Macron, was his criticism of plans to hold part of the Olympic opening ceremony on the river Seine, which he and other police officials believed to be an unnecessary security risk.

Lallemant, who was unapologetic about his law-and-order approach, was also in open conflict with leftist parties over numerous incidents of police violence, including against Yellow Vest protesters.

“Didier Lallemant is leaving, good riddance,” tweeted Mathilde Panot, deputy for the leftwing LFI party. “We won’t forget the Yellow Vests who lost their eyes, or had their hands torn off, and the other injured demonstrators.”

Lallemant, 65, said in a farewell letter to staff that he was “proud of duty done”, but he also admitted “carrying the wound of the Stade the France failure”.

Paris employs some 28,000 police agents, plus 16,000 support staff.

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