Nice skipper Digard: Fan safety is paramount

Nice captain Didier Digard says that scenes of violence among fans in French stadiums simply cannot be repeated.

Nice's 1-0 home defeat to Saint-Etienne on Sunday was marred by unwanted trouble in the stands, with visiting fans ripping up seats and throwing them.

As a result, the French football league (LFP) have banned Saint-Etienne fans from travelling to any away matches for the rest of 2013.

The ruling means that supporters will miss three matches, including a glamour tie at French champions Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de la Ligue.

And Digard, who spent two loan spells at Nice before signing permanently in 2011, believes that while fans have a crucial role to play in matches, safety for all must be paramount.

"It gives a bad image of football. The fans are very important," Digard told L'Equipe.

"When I see Saint-Etienne will be deprived of travelling supporters, it may be a handicap. What is the solution? I don't know.

"A stadium is not a place where one should see such things. I want families to come in peace, without fear of clashes between supporters."