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Saint-Etienne hit with fan ban after PSG fireworks display

Saint-Etienne’s supporters light flares during the French L1 football match between AS Saint-Etienne (ASSE) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Geoffroy Guichard Stadium in Saint-Etienne, central France, on December 15, 2019. (Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP)

Saint-Etienne has been provisionally ordered to play their Ligue 1 matches behind closed doors after supporters set off a barrage of fireworks in Sunday’s thumping by Paris Saint-Germain, the French football league (LFP) announced on Monday.

In a statement, the LFP said that they were banning fans from Saint-Etienne games pending further investigation for “wide use of fireworks” during the match.

The LFP did not specify when the probe would take place, with the club set to play one more match before the winter break away at Strasbourg. Their next home game is against Nantes on January 11.

They could also play at home in the League Cup quarter-finals on January 7 or 8 if they beat Nimes on Wednesday.

Home fans let off a volley of pyrotechnics as the 4-0 defeat came to a close at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, with Kylian Mbappe firing home the reigning champions’ fourth as flames and smoke billowed from the Kop Nord area of the ground.

Images of the display — put on by fans to celebrate the 20th birthday of ‘L’Avant-Garde’, one of the club’s hardcore group of ‘ultra’ supporters — quickly spread online and in the news.

PSG’s German coach Thomas Tuchel said that “it was like New Year’s Eve”.

Claude Puel meanwhile expressed his worry over potential sanctions, with the head of the French Football Federation (FFF) Noel Le Graet demanding on Saturday that clubs and the league take stronger action against such displays.

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