Bastia-Ajaccio fan trouble row continues
The fall-out from last weekend's explosive Corsican derby between Bastia and Ajaccio continues with both camps blaming the other for the violent incidents which erupted before and after the match.
Mathieu Chalme's 80th-minute red card for a second bookable offence was the only notable flashpoint of Saturday's Ligue 1 encounter at Stade Furiani - a 1-0 home win - before Ajaccio forward Dennis Oliech's ugly high lunge on Bastia goalkeeper Mickael Landreau sparked a melee which led to a further four players being dismissed. After the final whistle, the travelling Ajaccio fans had to seek refuge on the pitch as a group of Bastia supporters pelted them with stones from outside the stadium. Seven fans sustained minor injuries.
"I'm delighted Bastia won as it meant nobody died. We want to say to the French football authorities, to the Bastia officials, including the local authority, which has part of the responsibility of organising games: 'Be careful, there could be a tragedy at Furiani if things continue like this'," Ajaccio president Alain Orsoni told L'Equipe.
Despite Orsoni's warnings, police officials are reported as believing Ajaccio supporters started hostilities, setting up a roadblock in the town of Corte to harass Bastia fans while a search of the coaches used to bring them to the game revealed a number of weapons, such as brass knuckles and clubs. Bastia have also filed an official police complaint following damage to vehicles and the club's youth academy.
"Nobody likes it, least of all the president, who has a responsibility that matches pass off well," Bastia president Pierre-Marie Geronimi told RMC radio. "But I don't agree with the Ajaccio president. Ajaccio fans came to Bastia with flares and homemade explosives."
The club also released a statement on its official website, calling for cooperation between the two camps.
"Our island doesn't need any more controversy, and it's up to the two clubs to show courage and responsibility," the statement read.
With both clubs organising press conferences within a couple of hours of each other on Monday, the furore was hardly likely to fade away. Orsoni told RMC it was Geronimi - and not himself - who had the biggest problem to deal with as the pair await the outcome of the French Football League disciplinary commission's investigation into the incidents.
"I'm calmly waiting for the results of the enquiry. There were no incidents inside the stadium. There is a band of madmen: those who went outside to throw hundreds of stones at Ajaccio fans, and injured several, we can't let that go. I have photos and videos, irrefutable proof. I agree we have to work together. I will offer my cooperation to Bastia if required, but it's Bastia's problem."
Following violent incidents between rival fans at the first derby between the pair this season in October, Bastia were ordered to play a home game behind closed doors while Ajaccio were given a €5000 suspended fine.