Rowdy Ajaccio fans force postponement of Le Havre clash
Paris (AFP) –
A French second division playoff match between Ajaccio and Le Havre was postponed on Friday after fans of the Corsican club attacked the visitors' team bus.
Ajaccio and Normandy-based Le Havre are fighting for promotion to France's Ligue 1 top flight, but their respective bids are on ice after some fans, from a crowd of close to 150, threw missiles and stones at Le Havre's team bus and blocked it as it tried to near the stadium entrance.
One policeman suffered "light injuries" after a flare was thrown, according to regional security official Xavier Delarue.
Acording to an AFP photographer witnessing the incidents, the windscreen of the bus suffered damage while an explosion under the bus damaged the steering and the air conditioning.
The drama prompted Ajaccio's players to emerge and try to convince the Le Havre team to go through with the fixture, although their pleas fell on deaf ears.
"All the players want to do is go home," Le Havre coach Oswald Tanchot told AFP.
A meeting of officials and the team coaches was hastily convened, after which a delegate from the French Professional League (LFP) ruled that the fixture was postponed.
"The match has been cancelled and postponed, but we don't have a new date yet," Delarue told AFP.
However it could be rearranged for the coming days. The winner of Friday's fixture is scheduled to meet Toulouse, who finished 18th in Ligue 1, in the first leg of their playoff, on Wednesday.
In comments to BeIN Sport, Tanchot underlined the state of his players' "psychological condition" before adding: "The players are somewhat shocked... the decision (to postpone) is normal."
Alain Orsoni, vice-president of Ajaccio, lashed out at the few "idiots" who risk "penalising the club", claiming the incidents occurred on the "public footpath".
Ajaccio risk being forced to play the match at a neutral venue, or behind closed doors.
In a statement, the LPF condemned the "very serious incidents" and "the behaviour of the fans who stopped this match from being played."
© 2018 AFP