The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has banned fans of Ligue 1 club St Etienne from travelling to away games until the end of the year following an afternoon of violent clashes in Nice.
Sunday’s league meeting between Nice and St Etienne at the Allianz Riviera stadium saw around 250 visiting supporters ejected from the venue after some of their number began throwing seats at home fans around an hour prior to kick-off.
Violent confrontations between opposing spectators then took place, leading to several minor injuries.
In response, LFP has decided to “close the visitors’ gallery for St Etienne’s away games until the end of the year”.
The matches affected by the ban take place in Rennes on December 4, Montpellier in December 13 and against Paris St Germain in the French capital on December 18.
An LFP statement published in L’Equipe continued: “The Disciplinary Committee of the LFP, which will meet on Thursday, November 28, will also examine incidents that occurred during the Nice-St Etienne encounter and decide on the disciplinary action to be taken.”
St Etienne yesterday sent a letter to the French minister of the interior, asking to hold round-table talks on the subject.
In the wake of the disorder LFP president Frederic Thiriez threatened to impose “systematic bans” on supporters who indulge in violent behaviour and expressed his exasperation in L’Equipe.
“Enough! The few cretins who claim to be supporters do not even realise they ruin the image of football,” he said.
“I will ask a meeting with the ministry of the interior to discuss the supporters’ trips to away games.
“If we don’t succeed in resolving this problem it will end with a systematic ban on (supporters’) trips, which nobody wishes.”
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere said in quotes reported by L’Equipe: “I’m angry, I do not accept what happened.
“I do not understand that fans come into a stadium and break everything.
“No club is immune to such incidents and we all need to think about solutions.”
Roland Romeyer, the St Etienne president, added on L’Equipe: “I regret what happened.
“I think of the wounded and I am so disappointed for our fans who have done nothing and could not see the game.
“This still gives a bad image of our sport.
“I hope that those responsible will be punished as they should.”
The violent scenes were just the prelude to a miserable afternoon for Nice, with Claude Puel’s men going down to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of Mevlut Erding’s first league goal for St Etienne.
The state-of-the-art Allianz Riviera only opened its doors on September 22, having been built as part of a nationwide stadium improvement programme ahead of Euro 2016, which is to be held in France.