PSG banned from 2008/09 Coupe de la Ligue

Coupe de la Ligue BKT


Paris St Germain have been excluded from next season's Coupe de la Ligue as a result of the insulting banner their fans unfurled at this year's final.

The LFP is making a sustained attempt to eliminate any racist activity around its teams or their fans, and from the moment the banner appeared, for around five minutes early in the second half of the March 29 match against Lens at the Stade de France, there was no doubt PSG would face a severe penalty.

The offensive wording made a string of derogatory remarks about "people from the North", and was clearly aimed at the fans and players of Lens.

The tasteless wording ended "Welcome to the North", the sentiment of a controversial film which is currently attracting much attention in France. The rest included revolting sexual inuendos and a cheap jibe about the unemployed - there are many people unavoidably without work in the Lens area.

Announcing the decision of the LFP Disciplinary Commission, Jean-Pierre Hugues, director general of the LFP, commented: "The penalty is a very serious one to a club which cannot now defend its title, and with that loses the chance to play in the UEFA Cup. This exclusion is far from trivial - it represents a significant financial loss."

A statement from the LFP Disciplinary Commission included: "This affair involved premeditation and a lot of thought, and it could only have taken place with the benefit of compliance and complicity in security on the part of PSG elements - proved by the inertia and the passivity of about 50 stewards in PSG's stand at the moment the banner was deployed.

"The individuals charged are all identified as supporters of PSG and parts of the banner had even been made in the area reserved for these supporters at the Parc des Princes (home stadium of PSG).

"Each club is responsible for the behaviour of its supporters as much at home as away and on neutral ground, in accordance with article 129 of the FFF.

"The final of the Coupe de la Ligue, one of the great occasions in the season, was tarnished and sullied by the supporters of PSG."

While the penalty might have been worse - relegation-threatened PSG faced the possibility of being deducted points - the club said it would appeal against the decision.

A club statement of response read: "At the same time as once again condemning this banner, Paris St Germain declares itself profoundly shocked by the this punishment which excludes those responsible for this affair.

"The club will put into place all the ways of recourse at its disposal to fight this decision and have it annulled."

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