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Montpellier vow to punish defender

Montpellier president Louis Nicollin has said the club will take sanctions against a player who confronted and punched a journalist for sports daily L'Equipe after Saturday's 1-1 draw at Valenciennes.

Nicollin, speaking as the French champions prepared for their Champions League match at Arsenal on Wednesday, said it was "unacceptable" that defender Cyril Jeunechamp had punched journalist Jose Barroso.

He said Jeunechamp would be punished and told Midi Libre: "This kind of behaviour is intolerable. This is bad for the image of the club. It does not please me at all, and the club will take sanctions."

His stance was mirrored by coach Rene Girard, who addressed the issue in an interview and said: "We cannot tolerate this kind of behaviour.

"It is a bad reaction that came after a lot of bickering about an article... but there are other ways for people to express themselves, and it's a shame things have got to here."

Barroso has lodged a complaint with Montpellier, while France's Union of Sports Journalists said called Jeunechamp's behaviour "totally unacceptable" and warned that it could take legal action.

On Monday, Montpellier apologised to Barroso after Jeunechamp was one of several Montpellier players who confronted him. The players had apparently taken issue with an article he had written earlier in the week.

According to widespread reports in France, Jeunechamp lost his temper and punched Barosso in the face.

Reigning champions Montpellier, who earlier this season had Girard disciplined by UEFA for making an obscene hand gesture at Schalke boss Huub Stevens in a Champions League match, said sorry and suggested Jeunechamp would be punished internally.

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