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Montpellier sanctioned by disciplinary committee for rowdy fans

media Nimes' French midfielder Denis Bouanga (C) vies with Montpellier's French defender Daniel Congre (R) during the match AFP

France's Ligue 1's disciplinary committee imposed restrictions on future matches at Montpellier Monday, after their game at home against Nîmes was halted for more than 30 minutes because of crowd trouble.

From now on, viewing Montpellier matches will be limited to a select few.

Two of the club's football stands, the Etang de Thau and the Petite Camargue, will now be closed and fans will no longer be allowed to park outside the La Mosson stadium.

The restrictions were imposed after Montpellier's 3-0 victory over Nîmes Sunday ended up with a collapsed gate and two people injured.

The barrier came down after Montpellier had scored their second goal. Several fans ended up on the pitch with two reported to have suffered injuries, forcing referee Ruddy Buquet to halt the match for seven minutes.

This was the first league tie between the pair since 1993 and tensions had been simmering even before the clash.

Both clubs are based in the south of France and are bitter rivals.

Nîmes fans were attacked by Montpellier supporters in May, supposedly in response to Nîmes fans breaking into La Mosson stadium last November.

This time round, the trouble was caused by Montpellier ultras, according to a security officer at the club.

"The ultras went on to the pitch to recover part of their banner that had been stolen," the officer told AFP news agency, forcing riot police to intervene with tear gas.

Referee Buquet again opted to stop the game, causing a delay that lasted this time 20 minutes.

The Ligue 1 disciplinary committee doesn't have the authority to stop supporters from attending matches--that requires a police ban--but it can restrict them from viewing matches, which is what it has done.

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