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Ligue 1 Focus - OM in hot water. Again

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By Adam Faulkner

Saturday 28 November 2009

Olympique Marseille have this week received a sanction to play an upcoming Ligue 1 match behind closed doors. This follows the events during the meeting with Monaco at the Stade Velodrome in Week eight of the French season.

A match behind closed doors is the final decision of the Disciplinary Commission for the incidents in the encounter between the two teams when over 20 missiles were thrown at players on the pitch, with around 49 reports of flares in the crowd. According to a LFP statement, it is the not the first time that Marseille supporters have caused problems in the stands, the ban set to be enforced due to the club “having been fined seven times for the same incidents.”

The Director General of OM, Antoine Veyrat, has exhibited his distaste for the decision of the LFP and said: “ We are disappointed and bitter. We’re now waiting for notification of the exact nature of the sanction. Of course, the club will use all legal means at our disposal to show what action we have taken and our good faith in this affair.”

The Disciplinary Committee will also be investigating events that occurred during last week’s rescheduled Clasico, with the Committee set to study a dossier of the game. A number of flares and offensive banners were deployed around the stadium by certain groups of OM supporters. The nature of one particular banner, which insulted a dead Parisian supporter, has caused a surprised reaction amongst the Parisian ranks. The club from the capital, Paris Saint-Germain, has publically manifested its disgust at the banner and encouraged the LFP to study the dossier carefully. The OM chief released a statement declaring how he “condemned a banner of this nature,” with the club agreeing for the Committee to study the dossier to eradicate this kind of behaviour at the Stade Velodrome.

After the postponement of the Clasico due to swine flu over a month ago, it appears that the virus has struck again in Le Championnat. This weekend’s fixture between Monaco and Montpellier, who sit in eighth and fifth place respectively, has been postponed due to an outbreak of the H1N1 virus. According to reports, five Montpellier players have contracted the virus, with three others in quarantine for the next three days as a precautionary measure to avoid further contamination. The LFP made the decision this week after the club consulted the French Football Federation’s Medical Commission, with the game due to be played next Wednesday, December 2.

Club doctor, Rene Raimondi confirmed the epidemic circulating around the club: “Two days ago, the virus made its return inside the club. Eight players have been affected by the strain. Three have actually positively contracted the H1N1 virus. Two are strongly suspected to positive also, although the tests for the moment are coming back negative (their children being positive for the virus). Three other players and a member of staff are also ill.”

On the pitch this week, Laurent Blanc spoke of his pride after his Bordeaux side qualified for the next round of the Champions League as group winners. Les Girondins topped the group after an impressive 2-0 victory over Juventus at the Stade Chaban Delmas. Blanc insists, although his side have been performing to the highest level on the European stage, the domestic scene will be difficult this season following the wide-open title race supporters have seen so far. He said: “Now we have to forget about the Champions League and concentrate on Le Championnat, even though I know that it will be more difficult to go back to Le Championnat.”

The French side sit top of Group A with 13 points from their five games and will go through as group winners and have been one of the best performers in the group stages this season, along with London sides Chelsea and Arsenal. The excellent form of Les Girondins can be inextricably linked to the sparkling performances of striker Marouane Chamakh, who was a summer target of Arsenal. The Moroccan striker has this week confessed that he does know where his future lies when his contract expires at Bordeaux, although has not ruled out the possibility of staying put. He said: “It is up to me to make the right choice. It is not a decision that I have the desire to make quickly. I should have a good think about it.” The latest comments will have Europe’s biggest clubs on their toes in anticipation of snapping up the talented young striker, who has scored four goals this term.

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