sport

Lens promotion 'suspended'

Lens' promotion to Ligue 1 has been suspended for financial reasons, according to the club's president.

Gervais Martel told a press conference at the French club that the situation arose because money due to be sent from Azerbaijan did not arrive as it was a public holiday there.

The club is owned by Azerbaijani businessman Hafiz Mammadov, who recently acquired Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

Martel explained: "We learned last night that our rise to Ligue 1 has, for the time being, been suspended.

"It is unfortunate that this decision has been made but there is a simple reason for it. The payment date, the 26th, was a holiday in Azerbaijan, and the money did not arrive."

Martel confirmed an appeal against the decision of the French League's National Directorate of Management Control (DNCG) has been launched - and is optimistic the club will line up in French football's top flight next season.

He added: "I have absolutely no worries. We have appealed to the DNCG and we will provide all documents at the appropriate time. This is unfortunate - but it is not very serious."