Official at Corsican Ligue 1 club Bastia starts hunger strike

Reuters and AFP, PARIS

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 - Page 19

A Bastia official has started a hunger strike after the Corsican club were barred from playing at home until further notice because of a series of violent incidents, the Ligue 1 side said on Friday.

The disciplinary commission of the French League (LFP) imposed the sanction on Thursday after fans threw a barrage of fireworks outside the Furiani stadium on Wednesday as Bastia’s 2-1 defeat by Olympique Marseille was played behind closed doors.

“Outraged by the decision, Jo Bonavita, responsible for the logistics at the club, has decided to start a hunger strike this morning in the light of the sanctions imposed by the LFP,” the club said on their Web site.

Bonavita, 73, is a much-loved figure at Bastia, where he has been working since 1981.

Bastia president Pierre-Marie Geronimi accused the LFP of trying to destroy the club.

“It’s difficult to have a reaction to a decision which had left us speechless and stunned,” he said. “They want to destroy the club. The president of the LFP wants to destroy us brick by brick. It’s scandalous. We will not leave this be — we will appeal.”

The LFP said on Thursday that security could not be guaranteed in or around Bastia’s stadium.

The ground was empty for the game against Marseille after violent incidents in the stands marred their match with neighbors Ajaccio in October.

The disciplinary commission is also investigating two other games including the League Cup quarter-final against Lille, which was interrupted after a linesman was hit by a missile two weeks ago.

Bastia’s next home game is scheduled for Dec. 22 against Nancy. The LFP said in a statement on Friday that the game would be played in Gueugnon on the mainland.