Troyes suspend 4 players for throwing flares back at fans

French club Troyes have suspended four players and banned nine fans for throwing flares at each other at the abrupt conclusion of Saturday's game with Valenciennes which left the team on the brink of their second successive relegation to the third tier.

Troyes, who are owned by the Abu Dhabi-based City Football Group, had their game suspended at 1-1 in the 89th minute after fans threw flares and smoke bombs onto the pitch at Stade de l'Aube.

Moments later, with flares still being tossed by fans, some Troyes players picked up flares from the ground and threw them back -- angering one of the fans yelling at the players on a loudspeaker.

"The throwing of pyrotechnic devices onto the pitch by ticket holders is considered by the club to be a dangerous and irresponsible act," Troyes said in a statement on Wednesday. "These acts have no place in our sport.

"We have examined the CCTV footage and have identified nine individuals, who will now have their season tickets cancelled and a maximum ban imposed on their access to the stadium.

"In addition, we were disappointed to see four players send smoke bombs from the pitch into the stands. Despite the provocation, it is clear that their response was also dangerous. These players have now been suspended temporarily.

"The club now awaits a decision from the league."

Four teams are going down from France 's Ligue 2 this year as the division contracts to 18 teams from 20. Troyes are 17th, and are seven points from safety pending a decision from the league on how to conclude the Valenciennes fixture.

Troyes fans could be heard in the stadium on Saturday ironically chanting "Merci City" in reference to the ownership group, who took over in September 2020.

Their record signing Sávio, signed from Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro in 2022, has never played for the club as he was immediately loaned to PSV Eindhoven last season and then Girona in Spain's LaLiga this term -- another CFG-owned team.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.