PSG allowed to defend Coupe de la Ligue
Paris St Germain will be allowed to defend their Coupe de la Ligue title this season, the club confirmed on Thursday. PSG were banned by the league's disciplinary commission in April after their 2-1 win over Lens in the final of the competition in March was overshadowed by a racist banner unfurled by the capital club's supporters for around five minutes in the second half. An initial appeal against the decision was rejected by the superior appeals commission of the French Football Federation, but after taking the matter to the Tribunal Administratif de Paris, the capital club have been reinstated into the competition. A statement on the PSG website, www.psg.fr, read: 'PSG are delighted by the ruling of the judge of the Tribunal Administratif de Paris who has suspended the carrying out of the decision of the superior appeals commission of the FFF. 'In light of this ruling, PSG can participate in the 2008/09 Coupe de la Ligue and defend its title.' It added: 'PSG are happy that the judge took into consideration all the work the club did before and during the match in order to prevent all the incidents in a match in which the club wasn't the organiser. 'As PSG maintained, the judge therefore considered that the punishment was disproportionate.' The banner, which read 'paedophiles, unemployed, inbreeding, welcome to the north' caused widespread outrage when it was unfurled during the match. The commission cracked down hard on the club, but PSG always maintained that the sentence was unduly harsh. The capital club's reinstatement into the competition, which kicks off on August 19, means that a new draw will have to be carried out. The decision to allow PSG back into the competition has incensed FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes, who has vowed to fight to get it overturned. 'I won't give up,' he told France Football. 'The federal council meeting of August 22 will decide it, but I can tell you that the president will encourage them in that matter. 'I can't allow acts like this to go unpunished.'