PSG celebrate 1st league title in 19 years
PARIS (AP) -David Beckham and his Paris Saint-Germain teammates paraded the French league trophy in celebrations at the Trocadero square Monday marking the club's first domestic championship in 19 years.
But some fans clashed with riot police who were seeking to disperse the huge crowd after the players left following a short appearance. There was not even time for a speech from coach Carlo Ancelotti or captain Thiago Silva, who held the trophy aloft with central defensive partner Mamadou Sakho.
Dressed smartly in dark suits, the players' appearance at a square overlooking Paris brought loud cheers from the tens of thousands of fans in attendance, some of whom stood on rooftops, lit flares or climbed scaffolding.
The celebrations were delayed by more than an hour but, having waited for their first league title since 1994, the supporters didn't mind the wait and cheered loudly throughout.
"It's huge, they're happy and it's been a long time since they waited for this,'' PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi said.
But the players hardly had time to milk the applause before they were moved on by security officials, as small groups of riot police started to move forward with the mood turning ugly. Small groups of disgruntled fans threw stones and other objects at the police, who fired tear gas canisters in response.
"There were fireworks, flares and a bit of (tear) gas flying about,'' PSG defender Zoumana Camara said. "But you can understand that a bit because they (the fans) have been waiting for so long.''
The players were later scheduled to continue their festivities with a planned boat trip along the river Seine.
PSG had serious problems with hooliganism from 1985 to 2010, with two of its supporters killed in the last seven years as a result of hooligan clashes outside Parc des Prince stadium. The club then took measures to combat the problem and radically changed its ticketing policy.
PSG's 1-0 win at Lyon on Sunday night clinched the championship with two rounds remaining.
Sporting director Leonardo did not attend the ceremony after reportedly being hospitalized overnight and treated for a stress-related ailment before being released Monday afternoon.
Leonardo was involved in a verbal altercation with Zlatan Ibrahimovic after Sunday's match, with television images showing the club's top scorer shouting angrily at the sporting director in the changing room after the match.
Leonardo also faces a long ban after barging into the referee in a corridor following PSG's 1-1 draw with Valenciennes less than two weeks ago.
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