Wednesday 20 November 2019

Watch: Thousands of Saint-Etienne fans interrupt behind-closed-doors match

TOPSHOT - Saint-Etienne's fans invade the stadium during the French L1 football match played behind closed door between AS Saint-Etienne and Stade Rennais FC, on April 23, 2017 at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, central France. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZESPHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Saint-Etienne's fans invade the stadium during the French L1 football match played behind closed door between AS Saint-Etienne and Stade Rennais FC, on April 23, 2017 at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, central France. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZESPHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images

Fans of Saint-Etienne broke into the club's behind-closed-doors match with Stade Rennais on Sunday just two months after the club had been sanctioned for crowd trouble during a derby against Olympique Lyonnais in February.

An employee of Saint-Etienne was reportedly injured during the invasion with missiles thrown onto the pitch from the terraces.

Saint-Etienne had initially appealed the closed-stadium ban but withdrew their appeal to the LFP last week following last weekend's crowd trouble at Lyon's game with Bastia, which saw fans confront players on the pitch before the game was eventually abandoned.

A Saint-Etienne club statement concerning the withdrawal read: "The incidents that have occurred in Ligue 1 stadiums in recent days are so serious that ASSE, anxious to defend the values ​​of fraternity and fair play, has decided to withdraw from the appeal against the sanction Of the Professional Football League (LFP). In a context of violence and intolerable incivility, the club must take a responsible approach.

"Consequently, the urgent hearing scheduled for Thursday by the French Football Association's (FFF) Superior Appeals Commission has been canceled and the match against Rennes will take place in camera on Sunday 23 April (5 pm). ), At the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium."

Match referee Ruddy Buquet sent the players to the dressing room in the 16th minute of the 1-1 draw with the match delayed for a further 15 minutes until the Saint-Etienne fans left quietly before resuming their support from outside the grounds.

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