Corsicans accuse French league of racism

19 October 2011 02:35

Corsican nationalists have accused the French Football League (LFP) of racism as the fall-out from a brawl that marred the end of Saturday's second division match between Bastia and Lens continues.

Making reference to previous incidents involving Bastia this season, LFP president Frederic Thiriez said in a statement that "these repeated incidents are seriously damaging the image of French football and of Bastia."

"Frederic Thiriez systematically talks about Corsica with hatred," responded Jean-Philippe Antolini, spokesman for the separatist Corsica Libera party.

"On Saturday, he judged and condemned Bastia without knowing anything about what happened.

"His words brought back memories of previous regimes in bygone eras."

"Bastia were the victims of provocation," added local mayor Emile Zuccarelli, of the the left-wing PRG, in a statement.

"I cannot understand why the authorities would consider punishing Bastia or the Stade Armand-Cesari."

On Tuesday morning, the regional assembly for Haute-Corse voted in favour of a motion supporting Bastia and rejecting the declarations made by Thiriez.

Three players -- Gilles Cioni of Bastia and Lens duo Gabriel Cichero and Samba Sow of Lens -- were sent-off towards the end of the 2-2 draw at the Stade Armand-Cesari on Saturday.

As the players made their way off the pitch, fighting continued in the tunnel, and Cichero -- a Venezuelan international defender -- is alleged to have kicked Bastia director Alain Seghi in the face, breaking his nose, cheekbone and eye-socket.

Seghi confirmed on Monday that he would press charges against Cichero, while Sauveur Gandolfi-Scheit, MP for the Haute-Corse department, described the behaviour of the Lens players as "unspeakable."

The LFP's disciplinary committee are expected to hold a hearing with the two clubs on Friday.

Source: AFP