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Lyon fight supporter ban for derby

Lyon have declared their intention to fight the decision to ban their supporters from travelling to St Etienne for next month's potentially explosive Rhone derby.

St Etienne and Lyon fans clash during April's derby at the Stade Gerland.
St Etienne and Lyon fans clash during April's derby at the Stade Gerland.

Authorities in the Loire department made the move to prevent OL fans attending the Nov. 10 Ligue 1 game at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard in light of recent escalating tensions between the two rival sets of supporters.

The rivalry has become increasingly bitter and violent, with St Etienne's recent improvement under Christophe Galtier and the theft of part of a banner from hardcore St Etienne fans by their OL counterparts last season, which sparked violent incidents between the two groups during the second derby of the 2012-13 campaign at the Stade de Gerland.

Despite the potential for serious trouble once again, Lyon announced via a press release on their club website they would contest the ban in the city's court for administrative issues.

"Lyon noted with great surprise the motivations of the Prefecture of the Loire, which has forbidden, for the first time in history, access to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Nov. 10 to 'any person appearing to be a supporter of Olympique Lyonnais'," the statement read, adding the seven-time Ligue 1 champions were taking action to counter "a disproportionate attack on individual freedom".

Meanwhile, Nantes believe they have found a way out of the potential three-point deduction they face for fielding an ineligible player.

Abdoulaye Toure came off the bench for the newly-promoted club in their opening-day win over Bastia, but should not have featured as he was suspended following an accumulation of yellow cards for Nantes’ junior sides.

Having already argued that the French Football Federation had failed to properly notify the club of the ban, Nantes' lawyers told 20 Minutes Nantes their position was strengthened by a legal precedent set by France's highest court that means the fact Toure was never able to put forward his case rendered the suspension null and void.

"Toure picked up three bookings, the automatic punishment is a one-match ban, but if you apply the jurisprudence of the State Council, the suspension is nullified because our player, in addition to never having been informed of the suspension by registered letter, was never heard. He was, therefore, unable to defend himself," Nantes' legal counsel said.

"We already had a strong case, and it's now even more so. We're going to add that to our case file -- all the better for us."

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