Bitter French foes meet under tight security


PARIS: Paris St Germain midfielder Edouard Cisse calls it a dream final but, for security officials, Saturday's clash between the capital club and arch-rivals Olympique Marseille is more like a nightmare. 

More than 2,000 police will be deployed around the Stade de France for the match between the two bitter foes, who are facing each other in the French Cup final for the first time. 

“We don't want a few idiots to spoil what must be a football party,” said Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who announced exceptional security measures for the game. 

“All this is a bit ridiculous,” added Sarkozy. “All the security personnel who will be on duty that night would have been needed elsewhere.” 

Marseille's Sabri Lamouchi and PSG's Fabrice Pancrate have each urged their fans to behave and officials from both clubs have been careful to avoid another row. 

The last meeting between the two clubs, in March, resulted in a French Football Federation (FFF) ethics commission hearing because Marseille fielded a B team and asked their supporters not to travel to the match at Parc des Princes in Paris, citing security fears. 

Marseille had accused PSG of refusing to sell them the promised number of tickets and of seating Marseille fans just below home supporters. 

“Those who love football are tired of the deplorable show those two teams offer every time they meet,” French Football League (LFP) president Frederic Thiriez said during last month's row. “That's enough”. 

Around 20,000 Marseille fans are expected for the game at the Stade de France, on the outskirts of the capital, and have already started queuing up in the Mediterranean port city to collect their tickets. 

The match will be played before a sell-out 80,000 crowd and tickets on the black market had reached 300 euros by Monday, five days before the game. 

Several players, starting with Cisse, have said that Saturday's final should be approached simply as a potentially exciting football match. 

“It's going to be a dream final against Marseille,” said Cisse. “It's going to be the match everybody wants to see.” 

“Everybody has to behave this time, on the pitch and in the stands,” said Marseille striker Mickael Pagis. – Reuters  

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