French league meets over violent incidents at playoff
PARIS (AP) The French league on Tuesday rejected a request from second-division club Le Havre to be handed a default victory over Ajaccio following the violent incidents which marred a playoff match over the weekend in Corsica.
Four players were sent off in extra time on Sunday as Ajaccio needed a penalty shootout to beat Le Havre at the Francois Coty Stadium. Le Havre filed a complaint after one of its players, Jean-Philippe Mateta, was punched by Ajaccio player Faiz Selemani after scoring his second goal to give Le Havre a 2-1 lead in extra time.
Le Havre also said its president, Vincent Volpe, was pushed in the back in the stands at the end of the match, and claims its players received racist abuse and death threats. The game between the second-division teams was also stopped twice because of fans getting onto the field.
The French league ruled that it was not entitled to annul the result of the match and to hand the Normandy club a default victory.
”Articles 540 to 546 of the LFP competition rules … state very clearly that the loss of the match is effective only when a suspended player is entered on a match sheet,” the league said in a statement.
Le Havre appealed against the decision and said it will ”keep fighting.”
The game was played in a tense atmosphere after home fans threw stones at the visiting team’s bus as it tried to access the stadium on Friday, prompting the French league to postpone the playoff by two days.
The league said its disciplinary commission will investigate the incidents and suspended Ajaccio from hosting matches until further notice. Consequently, Ajaccio will take on Toulouse for a place in the top division next season behind closed doors in Montpellier on Wednesday.
Ajaccio coach Olivier Pantaloni, who was sent off against Le Havre but still watched the penalty shootout on the sideline, was suspended for the promotion playoff alongside Selemani.
More AP Ligue 1 coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/Ligue1