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Trouble mars start of football season

Police officers hurt in clashes with fans before and after opening game of Ligue 1 season at Bastia, Corsica

VIOLENCE blighted the opening weekend of the new football season in France, with 44 police officers injured in clashes before and after the Ligue 1 game between Bastia and Olympique de Marseille.

According to reports, scores of local supporters attacked police officers outside Stade de Furiani, on the island of Corsica, on Saturday.

The interior ministry said 10 riot police and 34 gendarmes were injured.

French authorities said on Sunday that there will be a meeting in the coming days with officials of the French football league to put in place a plan to stop “inadmissible violence.”

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Minister of Youth and Sports Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said in a joint statement that those responsible will face the courts and also be sanctioned, "notably by being banned from stadiums."

Mr Cazeneuve also called for “an end to this violent behaviour, especially towards security forces who must be respected.”

The game ended in a 3-3 draw.

Photo: Dany Tolenga

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