French league will investigate fan violence in Lille
PARIS (AP) — The French football league says it will open disciplinary proceedings following the violent incidents that marred a league match between Lille and Montpellier.
Fans of struggling French club Lille charged onto the pitch to confront and threaten the players who drew with Montpellier 1-1 on Saturday.
The league condemned the violence in a statement on Sunday and said its disciplinary commission will investigate the case during a meeting on Thursday.
At the final whistle, fans spilled onto the field at Stade Pierre-Mauory. Striker Nicolas Pepe was kicked in the leg by one fan and there were more flashpoints between fans and players as stewards struggled to control the situation. Defender Adama Soumaoro was also reportedly struck.
A line of stewards formed on the side of the pitch to hold back about 200 fans, who were chanting insults at the players and at president Gerard Lopez, just days after Lopez met with fan groups on Monday.
When Lopez became president, he confidently spoke about his ambition to qualify for the Champions League within a few seasons. But Lille, which won the French league and cup double in 2011, is next-to-last with only nine games left.