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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Ligue 1 facing stadium bans, afternoon matches?

PARIS, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Stadium bans for hooligans and afternoon kickoffs would be the best ways to rid French soccer of violence, French Professional Football League (LFP) president Frederic Thiriez said.

The LFP said on Monday that PSG's Ligue 1 match against Nice at Parc des Princes, initially scheduled for Saturday at 1900 GMT, would kick off on Sunday at 1600 GMT.

A policeman shot dead 25-year-old Julien Quemener and injured another fan while under attack from supporters after PSG's 4-2 UEFA Cup defeat by Hapoel Tel Aviv on Nov. 23.

Witnesses said the policeman opened fire on a mob of PSG fans who were chasing a Jewish supporter from Israeli team Hapoel outside Parc des Princes.

The fan's death triggered a nationwide debate about how to free soccer from violence and racism in France.

'My feeling is that there are 300 to 400 hooligans (in Paris) who are regarded as dangerous by police,' Thiriez said in an interview with Le Figaro posted on the French daily's Web site.

'If you had 300 who were banned from entering the stadium, the question of whether to close stands would become secondary.

'If you kick those 300 guys out, you will have peace. I've been saying it for two years. Now let's do it.'

The Boulogne Kop, an area of the Parc des Princes where PSG's most extreme fans traditionally assemble, has been closed on police orders until further notice.

Since the Nov. 23 game, PSG should have hosted Toulouse in Ligue 1 but that game was postponed for security reasons. No new date has yet been set.

PSG's first home game since the fan's death is against Panathinaikos in the UEFA Cup on Wednesday. That match should go ahead as planned, Thiriez said.

Another way to fight hooliganism, Thiriez said, would be afternoon kickoffs instead of games starting at 2000 or 2100 local time.

'I've always been in favour of that,' he said. 'In the afternoon, you've got daylight, families and a more friendly atmosphere. We could do it from the 2008-2009 season in Ligue 1 and from 2007-2008 in Ligue 2.'

LFP said they had moved the game against Nice to Sunday after being asked to do so by police.

PSG, experiencing their worst start to a season, dropped to 15th in the 20-strong league after a 3-1 defeat at leaders Olympique Lyon on Sunday.