Ajaccio forfeit home field against Toulouse in Ligue 1 promotion playoff

Ajaccio have escaped dismissal from the playoffs for promotion to Ligue 1 but will be deprived of home advantage for the first leg of the final.

Olivier Pantaloni's Ligue 2 side set up a clash with top-flight Toulouse by beating Le Havre on penalties on Sunday, in an ill-tempered clash in which both teams had two players sent off.

Afterwards, Le Havre filed a complaint with the French league (LFP) claiming they should be awarded the game after Pantaloni, who had also been dismissed, reappeared pitchside ahead of the shoot-out.

An LFP statement on Tuesday read: "The LFP competitions commission has rejected Le Havre's claim made after the AC Ajaccio-HAC match, which sought to have the match which they lost on penalties to AC Ajaccio awarded to HAC [Le Havre].

"The presence beside the pitch before the penalty shootout of ACA [Ajaccio] coach Olivier Pantaloni, even though he had been sent off by the referee, does not constitute a reason to invalidate the result of the match.

"Articles 540 to 546 of the LFP competition rules stipulate clearly that the forfeit of a match is effective only if a suspended player appears in the match.''

That was not the end of the matter for Ajaccio, though, as events off the field brought stern sanctions.

The match was originally scheduled for Friday but was postponed after Le Havre's team bus was attacked by Ajaccio supporters.

There were also pitch invasions and racist chanting at the rescheduled game and the LFP's statement continued: "In view of the gravity of these facts, the disciplinary commission has decided to place the matter under investigation and impose a provisional closure of the Stade Francois-Coty.

"The match between AC Ajaccio and Toulouse FC will take place on Wednesday behind closed doors in a stadium to be determined in the coming hours by the LFP.''

Pantaloni and defender Faiz Selemani were also suspended by the disciplinary commission and will join Mathieu Coutadeur and Joris Sainati in missing the first leg against Toulouse.

Coutadeur sparked the dramatic conclusion to the Le Havre match when he barged referee Frank Schneider inside the penalty area in extra time, and was punished with a red card and the award of a spot kick.

Jean-Philippe Mateta scored to put Le Havre 2-1 up and was immediately confronted by Joris Sainati, sparking a mass brawl.

Sainati, Mateta and Le Havre's Denys Bain were sent off, while Selemani's role in the fracas was punished after the LFP reviewed video footage.

Mady Camara scored Ajaccio's equaliser in the sixth minute of stoppage time at the end of extra time, and Jean-Louis Leca's save from Zinedine Ferhat proved decisive in the shootout.

The LFP later confirmed that the match will be played in Montpellier.

A statement from the governing body read: "The first match of Ligue 1 playoff final will take place at the Stade de la Mosson.

"Following the decision of the Disciplinary Committee of the LFP on Tuesday, May 22, the match between AC Ajaccio - Toulouse FC will take place Wednesday, May 23 at 20:45 behind closed doors at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier.''