French fury over Blatter stadium comments

Last updated at 14:42 01 March 2007

The row over Manchester United's controversial Champions League match with

Lille continued to simmer today with FIFA president Sepp Blatter coming under

fire for his criticism of the stadium.

Blatter said the Stade Felix-Bollaert in Lens, where United fans were crushed

against metal fences last week, should not have been used for a Champions League


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Lens president Gervais Martel said: "This position is scandalous. A number of

European matches have been organised at the Bollaert since 1998.

"Our enclosure fits perfectly with the UEFA regulations and there has never

been the slightest incident until English supporters provoked one with fake


"I am going to immediately send a letter to UEFA president Michel Platini, as

well as to Sepp Blatter, to ask him for his explanations and to invite him to


"It is irresponsible on his part to make such remarks."

Lille are blaming United for last week's crowd problems, claiming their early

distribution of tickets allowed high-quality fakes to be produced.

Blatter said yesterday: "I cannot understand that those who organise the

Champions League accept a stadium like Lens to play such a match.

"In Lens, there are fences still, and it should not be permitted to play

Champions League matches in such a stadium."

Meanwhile, UEFA are likely to tomorrow reject an appeal against their decision

to allow Ryan Giggs' goal in the 1-0 win for United to stand.

Lille claim the quickly-taken free-kick should not have been allowed to stand

but UEFA rejected their protest last week, saying it had been entirely within

the laws of the game.

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