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UEFA lifts threat to exclude Marseille from Europa League

UEFA has lifted its threat to ban Marseille from European competition if there is a repeat of the violence which marred their Europa League campaign last season.

However, last season's Europa League runners-up still have to play their next home European match behind closed doors, the European soccer body said in a statement on Monday.

Marseille are in the Europa League again this season and start their campaign at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Sept. 20 before facing Apollon Limassol and Lazio in Group H.

The French club were charged over incidents of crowd trouble at four matches last season, including the final which they lost 3-0 to Atletico Madrid in Lyon in May.

Offences included crowd disturbances, acts of damage, the setting off of fireworks, throwing of objects and late kick-off.

In July, UEFA's disciplinary tribunal gave the club a one-year ban from European competition, which was deferred for a probationary period of two years.

Marseille appealed the decision and UEFA's appeal committee handed down a new ruling on Monday which made no reference to any ban.

Instead, it said Marseille would have to play their next two UEFA home matches behind closed doors, the second deferred for a probationary period of two years.

They were also ordered to close the northern and southern ends of their stadium for four European games, with the last two of those again deferred for a probationary period of two years.

A €100,000 fine was maintained as was an order to pay Lyon, whose stadium hosted last season's final, for the damage caused by their fans.

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