Nimes coach blasts former club president over match-fixing

Nimes coach Jose Pasqualetti has attacked former club president Jean-Marc Conrad over the match-fixing scandal which will see them demoted one division at the end of the season.

Following a hearing on Monday and Tuesday into seven Ligue 2 games last season, Nimes were found to have fixed four games as they battled successfully to avoid relegation.

A statement from the French Football League (LFP) on Tuesday evening read: "After reading reports and interviewing representatives of the clubs concerned, and having deliberated, the commission rules that Nimes Olympique attempted, through two of the club's directors, to arrange (the results of) the following Ligue 2 matches in 2013-14: CA Bastia - Nimes Olympique, Dijon FCO - Nimes Olympique, SM Caen - Nimes Olympique and US Creteil-Lusitanos - Nimes Olympique."

No charges were brought in relation to home games against Istres, Brest and Laval, which had also been investigated.

Conrad, who took over the presidency in April 2014, was banned from holding any official role with a club for seven years while majority shareholder Serge Kasparian was banned for 10 years, in addition to the club's demotion and shorter bans or warnings for several other personnel.

And at the club's training session on Thursday, Pasqualetti told local newspaper Midi Libre: "I want to thank Mr Conrad. If he wanted to make his mark on the club, he has succeeded."

The demotion will be applied at the end of the current season, meaning Nimes will drop from Ligue 2 to the Ligue National unless they can finish in a promotion place.

They currently lie eighth in the table, trailing the top three by seven points with 10 games remaining.

Pasqualetti added: "This sanction will drive us on, make us stronger. There are 10 games to play, 30 points to play for.

"We will therefore seek third place. It is a difficult challenge, but we have to try."

That echoed the thoughts of current club president Christian Perdrier, who told Infosport+ TV on Tuesday: "I'm going to tell the players that the best way to stay in Ligue 2 is to gain promotion to Ligue 1."

Perdrier, who succeeded Conrad last November, vowed to appeal and "fight until the end" after the club were "punished for the actions of the former president". Nimes have until next Friday to appeal.