Lyon boss vows to defy St Etienne fan ban

Paris: Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas is ready to defy a French Interior Ministry ban on visiting Saint-Etienne fans for Sunday`s Ligue 1 derby clash, he said on Friday.

The ministerial decree was made amid fears of clashes between rival groups of supporters in the south-eastern city.

"There are disputes and strong rivalries between fan groups of both clubs ... which result in particularly violent and recurring incidents likely to disturb public order," an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Aulas slammed the order as "wacky" and said he was ready to welcome Saint-Etienne fans.

"Going against the stadium organisers who accept to host the rival fans is a contradiction," he said.

Lyon also had to travel without their fans to Saint Etienne on November for a match they nevertheless won 2-1.

Both teams are chasing European football next season with Saint-Etienne fourth in Ligue 1 just three points ahead of Lyon in fifth.