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Jun, 28, 2013

Monaco hit with points deduction

Big-spending Monaco's Ligue 1 title ambitions have been dealt a blow after they were deducted two points over a pitch invasion at the Stade Louis II last season.

Jubilant supporters spilled onto the playing surface after the 2-1 victory over Le Mans on May 17 clinched the Ligue 2 title, a week after promotion back to the top flight had been secured.

In the ensuing chaos, referee Antony Gautier was struck in the back, leading the French Football League (LFP) Disciplinary Commission to hand out the sanction.

They face the prospect of a further point being deducted if their fans transgress LFP rules in future, and were also ordered to play one game behind closed doors.

That could see major summer signing Radamel Falcao make his home debut, against Montpellier on August 17, in front of an empty stadium.

However, Monaco could yet call on the French Football Federation's (FFF) Supreme Appeals Commission to have the punishment overturned.

"Monaco have been punished for their supporters invading the pitch," the commission president, Pascal Garibian, was quoted as saying by L'Equipe.

"Invasions, with the movement of a crowd, are always dangerous. The clubs are responsible for their fans."

The club declared its "surprise" at the punishment, which it described as "severe".

"Also, AS Monaco FC has always condemned in the strongest terms violence towards match officials," a statement on the club's official website said.

"The Stade Louis II has always been synonymous with conviviality and respect for opponents and officials."

The club added it would consider the issue further before deciding whether or not to appeal.

Nice also face the prospect of playing their first home game of the season, against Rennes, behind closed doors after they were punished for the use of 54 flares by fans prior to the league game against Lyon on May 19.

Smoke from the flares drifted across the pitch, delaying kick-off, while a bottle filled with sand was also thrown onto the field.

The two teams who came up from Ligue 2 behind Monaco, Nantes and Guingamp, were fined €25,000 and €50,000 respectively as a consequence of pitch invasions after they clinched promotion in their penultimate league games of the season.

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