(Adds details in paras 8-9)
By Julien Pretot
PARIS, March 17 (Reuters) - Ligue 2 side Nimes will be relegated one division at the end of the season after former president Jean-Marc Conrad was found guilty of attempted match fixing, the French League (LFP) said on Tuesday.
LFP disciplinary commission president Sebastien Deneux told a news conference that Conrad, who was handed a seven-year ban, tried to fix four Ligue 2 games as his club were fighting off relegation last season.
Nimes can appeal the decision before the French federation (FFF).
“We are reproaching Conrad for having tried to fix some matches and defraud sporting ethics,” said Deneux. “This was a violation of morality.”
Nimes’ main shareholder Serge Kasparian was handed a 10-year ban.
“I am stunned. The club is sanctioned for the actions of its former president,” Nimes’ current president Christian Perdrier was quoted as telling a news conference by French media.
The only way they can avoid relegation to the third division is if they win promotion to the top flight in which case they will stay in Ligue 2.
Nimes are eighth in the standings, seven points adrift of the promotion places.
The matches Conrad tried to fix were against CA Bastia, Dijon, Caen and Creteil, Deneux said.
Four other people were handed suspensions ranging from two months to two years for their part in the match-fixing attempts.
Seven games involving Nimes were investigated by the LFP, who said officials from all the clubs concerned — Caen, Creteil, Dijon, Istres, Bastia, Brest, Nimes and Laval — had been summoned to give evidence.
Conrad was arrested last November on suspicion of fixing the result of a game between Nimes and Caen last season.
The game in May ended in a 1-1 draw, which was enough to keep Nimes in Ligue 2, while Caen all but secured promotion to the top flight.
On the judicial side, preliminary charges were filed against Conrad and Caen president Jean-Francois Fortin, who was cleared by the LFP.
The two procedures, however, are strictly independent from each other.
Olympique de Marseille were relegated to the second division in 1994 over a match-fixing scandal dating back to the 1992-93 season. They were also stripped of their 1993 French title. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)