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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Montpellier chief insults Clerc on radio

St Etienne have called on the French Football League (LFP) to punish Louis Nicollin after the outspoken Montpellier president insulted Les Verts defender Francois Clerc.

Clerc, 30, was part of the St Etienne team that ended the club's three-decade wait for a domestic trophy by winning the Coupe de la Ligue last Saturday. Asked whether it meant more to him than the trophies, including three Ligue 1 titles, he won at his current side's arch-rivals, Lyon, Clerc replied: "Of course. When Lyon won their first title, it was also something special."

Nicollin, 69, grew up near Lyon and has often stated his love and respect for the city's club, and responded by saying, "I don't know this bloke, but he's a gobshite, that's all", to regional station Radio Scoop.

"AS Saint-Etienne strongly condemns the insults Louis Nicollin made towards Francois Clerc. This unacceptable outburst is unworthy of a club president," a statement on the St Etienne website read before demanding the LFP's Ethics Committee look into the matter. "The club, which is fully behind Francois Clerc, wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the respect of sportsmanship and human values which all those in professional football must adhere to."

Nicollin is well known in France for his often amusing and sometimes highly offensive public statements. In 2009, he received a four-month ban from exercising official duties as a club representative for directing a homophobic slur at then-Auxerre midfielder Benoit Pedretti.

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