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Volume 7 No. 149
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Flag Of Corsica Becoming Concern For French Football League And Its Teams

Since the incidents at the Ligue 1 Nice-Bastia match, the flag of Corsica has "become a subject of growing tensions between the football authorities and sport managers and the politics of Corsica," according to the AFP. This weekend, Ligue 2 side AC Ajaccio and Ligue 1 side Bastia "both defied the ban by the French Football League (LFP) in flying any flags before the match," a step further on a controversy that is "now taking a political turn." Friday, during the pre-game minutes of the meeting at home against Ligue 2 side Valenciennes, AC Ajaccio "provided Corsican flags to the children who accompanied the players" coming onto the field. Then, Saturday night, Bastia "drove the point home in Furiani: despite the disapproval that was handed down by the LFP, the north island club did the exact same thing" before the match against Monaco. These initiatives follow a controversy born a week earlier around the Corsican flag: on Oct. 18, brawls took place on the Nice field after Bastia’s back-up goalkeeper, Jean-Louis Leca, waived this flag to celebrate the 1-0 victory of his club. His gesture was identified as a “provocation” by Nice Deputy Mayor Christian Estrosi, a "term that Bastia has vigorously refuted." On its end, the LFP has responded in a statement, saying that it “has never banned and never will ban flags in the stadiums, whether they be Corsican, Breton, Basque or even Occitan, before, during, or after matches.” However, it said “there is a proper pre-game protocol to respect, just like FIFA and UEFA” (AFP, 10/26).