SC Bastia release statement following violent incidents at the Allianz Riviera last night

SC Bastia have released an official statement following violent incidents that occurred after the final whistle in their Ligue 1 game vs OGC Nice at the Allianz Riviera. Extracts are below:

“Following the classic media frenzy that follows notable incidents in modern football our club has taken the time to analyse the events calmly that marred the derby between Nice and Bastia.”

On the Corsican flag:

“Having the flag inside the Allianz Riviera constitutes only a symbolic response that SC Bastia wanted to showcase following the Alpes-Maritimes’ ruling a few days before the match that banned all objects showing images of Corsica on it, which was subsequently amended and which saw the Nice Administrative Court order the State pay us €500, a sum which has symbolic value for us and honour. So in order to show ironically ridiculousness of this attempted measure, our players warmed up with a shirt that had a red cross through the Maure head (symbol of Corsica).”

On Jean Louis Leca’s post-match waving of the Corsican flag at Nice supporters:

“The victory was hard-won in a sporting context. Jean Louis Leca responded as he always does when winning three points by taking out the same flag as always to celebrate with his teammates. It was a gesture of natural pride and had absolutely nothing to do with OGC Nice and its supporters.”

On the incidents that ensued after the match:

“Contrary to what certain sources claimed last night, Jean Louis Leca has absolutely not directed his celebrations to the Populaire Sud (where the OGC Nice “ultras” were) to perform some unknown “provocation” but instead to join the rest of the team. It was a very natural attitude which is seen in many sports including athletics and football. The incidents occurred only because OGC Nice captain (Didier) Digard thought it useful to aggressively approach our player to put away his flag and thus his identity. A slight scuffle followed, which gradually degenerated in several places (on the pitch) with dozens of Nice fans who entered the pitch to attack many of our players and staff members.”

“We cannot accept any sanction for our goalkeeper Jean Louis Leca who simply wanted to show with peacefully his pride to be who he is, a player who has waited twenty years for such a derby, in a town where the State tried to illegally prohibit, something that would be seen as wholly unacceptable in any other part of France, the flag of a man’s ancestors in a public place.”

The statement then goes on to make a mockery of the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi:

“No offence (to him), who believed it appropriate at the end of last night to call for “sanctions” against the “provocation” of Jean Louis Leca, when he didn’t hesitate last February to extend his full support to OGC Nice striker Alexy Bosetti who exhibited tattoos representing the Ultra group he belonged toin the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, which was seen as an act of hooliganism, something that he (Estrosi) saw as unjust. Testifying pride in belonging to Nice in a goal is not a provocation. We can not agree more…”

More to follow on this developing story.

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