Saint-Etienne to play behind closed doors following crowd trouble

French Ligue 1 football club AS Saint-Etienne will play its next home match at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard behind closed doors following crowd trouble during the game against Angers on Friday night.

Saint-Etienne’s match against Angers, which finished 2-2, was delayed by an hour after home fans let off smoke bombs and ran onto the pitch at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Fans have grown increasingly frustrated with the club currently bottom of Ligue 1 after 11 matches.

France’s Professional Football League (LFP) has ruled that the team must play at least one home match without supporters. The ban will come into effect for Saint-Etienne’s match against Clermont Foot on November 7.

Saint-Etienne fans have also been banned from attending away matches until further notice, with the punishment to be in place for this weekend’s trip to Metz. Saint-Etienne will learn if it has received further punishment on November 17, when an LFP disciplinary commission will reach its final decision.

The decision comes after the LFP had previously hit Saint-Etienne with a two-match suspended closure of the south stand at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard following trouble during the derby match against Olympique Lyonnais on October 3.

There has been crowd trouble at a number of Ligue 1 matches this season. In August, OGC Nice was hit with a partial stadium closure following unrest at the Allianz Riviera during the match against Olympique de Marseille.

Saint-Etienne has failed to win any of its opening 11 matches this season.

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