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May 8, 2013

French rivals earn stadium bans

Bastia and Ajaccio have been ordered to play both their Corsican derbies next season behind closed doors and at a neutral venue after trouble flared on and off the pitch when the pair met each other this term.

Bastia announced the unprecedented decision of the LFP's Disciplinary Commission on its official Twitter feed.

The sanction comes following the bad-tempered meeting between the neighbours in Bastia on March 2. While Ajaccio's Mathieu Chalme was sent off for a second bookable offence, a further four players - two from either side - were dismissed in added time following a mass brawl provoked by an unsightly challenge on Bastia goalkeeper Mickael Landreau by Ajaccio striker Dennis Oliech.

The violence off the pitch occurred following the final whistle with 450 Ajaccio fans, who had been kept behind for their own safety, forced to seek sanctuary on the Stade Furiani pitch after their section of the ground was pelted with stones thrown from outside the stadium. Five Ajaccio fans and two Bastia supporters were injured.

Prior to kick-off, a police search of the buses bringing the Ajaccio followers to the stadium had uncovered what Bastia president Pierre-Marie Geronimi described at the time as "a real arsenal" of projectiles and flares.

The return fixture, which ended goalless, on October 21 had also resulted in a player from both sides being sent off for fighting, an incident which provoked violent scenes and a stand-off between police and the travelling Bastia fans.

The incident resulted in Ajaccio being fined and Bastia being forced to play their pre-Christmas league encounter with Marseille behind closed doors. Violent incidents outside the ground before, during and after the hosts' 1-0 defeat to OM, and a barrage of racist insults aimed at the visitors as they climbed aboard their team coach after the final whistle, meant Bastia were condemned to play three matches on neutral territory.

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