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Mar 3, 2010

Coupet: PSG squad "responsible" for OM violence

Paris St Germain goalkeeper Gregory Coupet admits he and his team-mates feel "strongly responsible'' for the outbursts of violence which tarnished the weekend's Classico against Marseille and left a fan in critical condition.

The 38-year-old supporter, who has been named only as Yann L, remains in a coma with serious head injuries after being lynched by fellow PSG fans before Sunday's match.

Violent clashes between PSG fans took place before, during and after the 3-0 defeat at the Parc des Princes and riot police, using tear gas, attempted to control the situation.

Around 20 people were arrested following confrontations with police and 16 of them have now been banned from stadiums and will have to report to their local police station at match time to prevent them violating their ban.

On Tuesday PSG president Robin Leproux announced the club had taken the drastic action of deciding not to make tickets available for away games until further notice, something of which Coupet approves.

"Once again it's the club's image which suffers,'' he said. "At a sporting level, we feel strongly responsible because if there had been good results there maybe wouldn't have been all these problems and this rise in violence.

"It's also a reflection on society. People fear the police less and less and that creates riots. Sport has nothing to do with that. Football is a popular sport.

"Sunday, when leaving the stadium, I saw all these riots. It's very disturbing. At the present time I wouldn't take my children to the Parc. Mr Leproux showed a lot of courage in taking measures against all this.''

Before the match coach Antoine Kombouare admitted they needed a victory to get the fans back on their side after a series of disappointing results had seen them slip to 12th in the Ligue 1 standings.

However, the supporters have turned even more against the team and there was added security at the training ground on Monday, although that could not prevent fans from hurling insults at the players and defender Sammy Traore in particular.

Coupet, who signed from Atletico Madrid last summer, insists the majority of their support should not be tarred with the same brush.

He said: "Their image is tarnished by a minority. At the Parc there are 45,000 spectators and a lot of people who are passionate about sport, who love PSG.

"When I came to the club I was pleasantly surprised by all these fans who are behind us, encourage and us and are worried because of results but who don't respond with violence.''

There is a history of violence between Marseille and PSG fans and OM supporters had boycotted Sunday's match in protest at the severe security measures that were going to be used to manage them.

There was a suggestion that the Coupe de la Ligue final could be moved from the Stade de France amid fears PSG fans would target the match between Marseille and Bordeaux, but the league confirmed it would take place in Paris as planned.

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