Lens ordered to play behind closed doors after pitch invasion

Paris (AFP) – French football authorities on Monday ordered Lens to play their home matches behind closed doors until further notice after a half-time pitch invasion marred their 1-0 win over northern rivals Lille.

The ruling applies to Wednesday’s Ligue 1 game against Strasbourg and the October 1 visit of Reims.

A final decision will be taken after the case is thoroughly examined five days later.

The French league’s disciplinary committee also decided to close the away section for travelling Lille supporters at upcoming matches, starting with Saturday’s trip to Strasbourg.

Dozens of Lens supporters stormed the Stade Bollaert-Delelis pitch on Saturday to confront the visiting Lille fans stationed in a corner of the ground after tensions flared with other spectators.

Riot police intervened to separate the factions of opposing supporters as both sets of fans hurled seats at each other over a partition wall.

Six people sustained minor injuries and police made two arrests.

Lens have filed a complaint over the damage caused and the use of smoke bombs, local prosecutors told AFP.

The second half of the match was delayed by 30 minutes.

The trouble came the week after Nice were docked a point following the serious incidents that led to their August 22 home match with Marseille to be abandoned.

Nice supporters invaded the pitch and confronted Marseille’s Dimitri Payet, who had thrown a bottle lobbed at him back into the crowd. A brawl then broke out involving players and spectators.

That game will be replayed at a neutral venue on October 27. Nice were also ordered to play three matches behind closed doors.

A clash between Montpellier and Marseille on the opening weekend of the season was also interrupted for about 10 minutes after fans threw bottles onto the pitch.

League officials ordered Montpellier to close two parts of their ground for the next three home games.

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