Clermont players involved in altercation with fans with club on precipice of Ligue 2 return

Clermont Foot have not lost their last two matches, but the two draws, the first against Paris Saint-Germain and the latest against Montpellier HSC, have done little to improve their chances of avoiding a return to Ligue 2. 

Clermont have lost 15 Ligue 1 games this season. The club currently sit rock-bottom and are four points off FC Lorient, who currently occupy the relegation play-off spot and have a game in hand (against PSG). Their bid to survive is becoming increasingly desperate and within that context, tension is rising at Les Auvergnats. 

Pascal Gastien’s side, who have played three consecutive seasons in France’s top flight, despite the club’s very meagre means, hosted Montpellier on Sunday and despite going ahead thanks to a Muhammed Cham penalty, were pegged back after a Tanguy Coulibaly second-half strike. Their chances of survival are increasingly thin and post-match some of Clermont’s players were involved in an altercation with their own fans.

Florent Ogier and Yohann Magnin, captain on the day, were at the heart of the altercation. “We understand their frustration. I’m the first one to say that the fans come all the time, in all weather. We win very few matches, they spend money and some of them don’t have high wages and they make the away trips. I am fully aware of that but when some players go to greet them and they make obscene gestures and insult our parents, it isn’t how you do things,” said Magnin post-match, reflecting on the incident.

Manager Gastien said he was “disappointed” but not “surprised” by the altercation. He called on fans to contextualise the club’s current situation. “They quickly forget […] people don’t realise where we have come from. We have by far the smallest budget in Ligue 1. You can’t expect us to win 5-0 every weekend! I think we couldn’t have done much more today,” he said. 

>> WATCH: Clermont Foot players involved in altercation with fans

“Clermont Foot in Ligue 1 is exceptional. Let’s be happy to be here and to have the chance to stay here in our last five matches. When you look at the accounts, the club should never have gone up [to Ligue 1] and should never have stayed for three seasons in Ligue 1,” added Magnin. Hopes of a fourth season are rapidly dwindling. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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