Ligue 1 suffers more crowd trouble as rival fans battle over stolen banner

The Derby du Languedoc between Montpellier and Nîmes has reemerged as a potent rivalry after lying dormant for 25 years

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

Montpellier’s Stade de la Mosson was unusually packed for the visit of newly promoted local rivals Nîmes on Sunday afternoon but the Tribune Heidelberg, the stand that houses the Montpellier ultra-group Butte Paillade 91, was missing its most prominent totem. A banner that bears the group’s name and usually sits proudly above the lower tier had been stolen. However, with 10 minutes remaining of what had been a ferocious Montpellier display, the missing banner reappeared – but at the other end of the stadium.

Until this week, the Derby du Languedoc had been largely forgotten by anyone outside the south-western region, an area normally more famed for rugby. Although the rivalry has been fierce in the past – something underlined by the 400 police on hand at the game – the two clubs had not met in Ligue 1 for 25 years or in any competition for nearly a decade. The competitiveness has reemerged.

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