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By ESPN Staff
Jan 13, 2009

PSG should not be competing in Cup, Lens say

Paris St Germain should not have been allowed to defend their League Cup title, Racing Lens manager Daniel Leclercq said before Wednesday's quarter-final rematch of last year's controversial final.

The French League initially banned PSG from this year's edition after some of their fans held up an abusive banner during their 2-1 win over northern club Lens in the final at the Stade de France in March.

A civil court later quashed that decision and the two sides meet again at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

"We are out for revenge after our defeat in the final," Leclercq told reporters.

"The whole region suffered from this story... It is not natural to let PSG compete in this Cup."

Lens mayor Guy Delcourt said he would not attend the game in protest at PSG's participation in the Cup.

"I expected the French League chairman (Frederic Thiriez) to make a strong statement before the game, he did not. The same thing with (Sports Minister) Bernard Laporte," he told daily L'Equipe.

"I still deeply hold a grudge against everybody in French football."

The abusive banner referred to a film about the life of the Ch'tis, a nickname for the people of northern France, and it read: "Paedophiles, unemployed, inbred: welcome among the Ch'tis".

Even French President Nicolas Sarkozy waded into the debate at the time, calling for tough sanctions.

Lens were also furious to lose 2-1 in the dying minutes of the final because of a penalty they say should not have been awarded.

"I won't speak about the banner when I will talk to the players before the game," Lens coach Jean-Guy Wallemme told reporters.

"The defeat was harsher than the banner story. The penalty we conceded in the last minutes of the final was also very painful."

PSG coach Paul Le Guen called for mutual respect.

"I don't think those kinds of statements are really appropriate. It is a clumsy initiative but I don't have anything against them," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"I think it is normal we were allowed to compete. I will say it again and again."

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