Wed, May 15, 2013 - Page 18 News List

LIGUE 1: ‘Hands off Ancelotti,’ PSG caution Real Madrid

AFP, PARIS

Newly crowned Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) have warned Real Madrid to respect the contract of their coach Carlo Ancelotti, seen as a potential target for the Spanish giants, as violence late on Monday scarred the French club’s trophy parade.

The “hands off Ancelotti” message came ahead of what was supposed to be a festive PSG party in the French capital, but the celebrations turned sour when fans clashed with police.

Up to 15,000 PSG fans had thronged the esplanade at Trocadero by the Eiffel Tower to mark the club’s first league title in 19 years — two years after a buyout by Qatar Sports Investments.

However, the occasion descended into violence with the throwing of smoke bombs, damage to bars and restaurants, scuffles and stand-offs between an 800-strong police presence and hardline PSG supporters known as “ultras.”

In all 30 people, including three security officers, suffered injuries and 21 arrests were made following the disturbances, Paris police commissioner Bernard Boucault said.

“There were numerous smoke bombs and objects thrown at the players’ podium, and a strong surge by the crowd when the players got onto the podium,” a police source reported. “Police officers reinforced security around the podium, which resulted in objects being thrown at the security forces.”

“It was the fault of the ultras, we couldn’t celebrate because of them,” one fan said.

Another, Alexandre, said: “The festival was ruined.”

The main rightwing opposition UMP party accused French Interior Minister Manuel Valls of “amateurism” and “inertia” in face of the violence, with local UMP mayor Claude Goasguen calling for him to resign.

“The security of the people, the supporters, the players and the journalists was not assured,” Goasguen said in a statement.

Boucault said that given the disturbances, PSG would never be granted “a public celebratory parade again.”

Earlier, in an interview to appear in yesterday’s edition, French sports daily L’Equipe said PSG chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi had reminded Real that Ancelotti still had a year tying him to Parc des Princes.

“A few days ago, the director general director of Real Madrid [Jose Angel Sanchez] contacted me to talk about him [Ancelotti]. I told them very quickly ‘if you want to try to get Carlo, you must know he has a year left on his contract. So please respect us and respect this contract,’” L’Equipe quoted al-Khelaifi as saying in extracts of the interview on its Web site on Monday.

“He apologized. He told me he thought that Carlo’s contract expired at the end of this season. I told him that was not so and that Carlo’s deal had another year to run. He said in that case they would take that on board. If he [Ancelotti] left, that would be a problem,” al-Khelaifi added.

Real are widely expected to part company with Jose Mourinho this summer, after three years with the Portuguese former Chelsea boss believed to be headed back to England.

In a separate development, al-Khelaifi told L’Equipe that PSG sporting director Leonardo had been hospitalized overnight on Sunday after being taken ill.

“Leo gives everything for the club — he has been totally committed to the cause. He has put in heart and soul and his health, and with all the emotion surrounding winning the title he has had a bit of a shock,” he said.

Al-Khelaifi later told beIN Sport TV: “I talked to him on the phone and he is well, he had a checkup and he’s OK — just a bit stressed.”

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