PARIS - Tensions were running high on the Ligue 1 battlefield between Girondins Bordeaux and Olympique Lyon before next week's Champions League quarter-final clash between the two league title contenders.
After both presidents stated their mutual respect when the draw was made, the polite small talk was quickly forgotten when Bordeaux asked the Lyon v Grenoble game scheduled for Friday to be played on Saturday - the day the French champions play the League Cup final against Olympique Marseille.
"Don't talk to me about fairness when you know how things go, when (Bordeaux coach) Laurent Blanc directly calls the League president to try and influence him," Lyon coach Claude Puel told reporters.
"Everybody has to respect the hierarchy and stop doing things on the sly."
Lyon appealed against the decision but the French League (LFP) said the game would be played on Saturday.
Lyon asked for the French Olympic Committee's arbitration in a last-gap attempt to overturn the decision but their request was turned down by the CNOSF on Thursday.
"I would have accepted that (decision) if it had been done by the rules," said Puel.
Sixth-placed Lyon, who trail Bordeaux by five points and have played one more match, were hoping to benefit from an extra rest day before hosting the Aquitaine side in the Champions League on Tuesday.
"The preparation plan for this game was based on a five-day period between the Marseille and Grenoble matches," Lyon said in a statement.
Lyon would move within two points of Bordeaux if they beat bottom club Grenoble, who have lost 20 of 29 games this season.
With three of the top six teams not playing this weekend, promoted Montpellier, level on points with Bordeaux, will go top if they prevail at Lille on Sunday.
They welcome back key midfielder Geoffrey Dernis, who has recovered from a knee injury, the club said on their website, but will miss suspended centre back Emir Spahic.
Third-placed AJ Auxerre travel to Monaco on Monday hoping to bounce back from a penalty shootout elimination by Paris Saint-Germain in the French Cup. Monaco secured a thrilling 4-3 win over Sochaux to reach the semi-finals.
Olympique Marseille, who are fourth, also sit out of this weekend's matches as they play Bordeaux in the League Cup final.comments