Fans on the pitch, fire from smoke bombs and the intervention of the police… The match between Saint-Etienne and Auxerre for the Ligue 1-Ligue 2 play-offs ended in confusion on Sunday May 29. After ten years of waiting, Auxerre snatched their return to Ligue 1 on penalties against the Greens (1-1, 5 penalties to 4), relegating them to Ligue 2.

From the last successful shot on goal by the Auxerrois Birama Touré, synonymous with a rise to the elite, the lawn of the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium was invaded by thousands of angry supporters.

Some sent pyrotechnic devices towards the official platform protected by the police. The Saint-Etienne players, surrounded by the stewards, immediately rushed, like the other players in the match, to the locker room.

Two Auxerre players slightly injured

“After the match, I freaked out because I took tear gas canisters, like my players,” commented Auxerre coach Jean-Marc Furlan. “We counted ourselves to see if there were any missing. These incidents are very sad,” he added. According to the Loire prefecture, two Auxerre players were slightly injured in the scuffles.

The police also entered the field and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, while panic movements shook the stands.

And the clashes continued outside the stadium, requiring the use of tear gas and a water-thrower, said the prefecture, adding that the unrest had ceased at 11:15 p.m.

The balance sheet stands at 14 minor injuries among the police and 17 among the supporters, “including three were taken to the hospital for control”, according to the prefect of the Loire, Catherine Séguin, who condemns “these unacceptable, irresponsible and undignified acts”. According to her, the 1,154 Auxerre supporters and then the players were able to leave the stadium from midnight under police escort.

The mayor of Saint-Etienne Gaël Perdriau expressed his “sadness” caused by the “descent into Ligue 2 of ASSE” and condemned the “dangerous acts with direct fire from smoke bombs aimed at the public (…), as well as the degradations and acts of vandalism”.

Saint-Etienne sanctioned several times

The Geoffroy-Guichard stadium is again at risk of serious sanctions even though it is on probation because it is a repeat offender of this type of incident. The shoot-off against AJA was also played with a closed stand, for throwing smoke bombs during the ASSE-Monaco match at the end of April. A total camera even hit the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium for the last home game in Ligue 1, during the 37th day, lost against Reims.

Saint-Étienne-Monaco, counting for the 34th day of Ligue 1, had been interrupted twice, the second time for more than half an hour, while some ultras from Saint-Etienne used smoke bombs and fireworks to celebrate 30 years of the Green Angels.

And on October 22, already, the match between Saint-Étienne and Angers started an hour late. Several ultras from Saint-Etienne, unhappy with the club’s bad sporting pass, entered the lawn before the match, sent rockets and smoke bombs, and damaged the goal nets, which had to be mended hastily.