Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier has denied suggestions he struck Jean-Michel Aulas after Sunday's tempestuous Rhone derby, calling the Lyon president "a liar."
Shortly after his club's dramatic 2-1 win -- secured with a Jimmy Briand goal deep into added time at the end of the game -- Aulas told Canal+ he was acting as peacemaker in breaking up a fight in the players' tunnel between Saint-Etienne's goalkeeping coach Fabrice Grange and OL team doctor Emmanuel Orhant when Ruffier had struck him in the back.
"I simply pushed him with one hand, like some dozen players pushed each other in the tunnel. No more, no less," Ruffier told the press. "Do you honestly think that if I'd hit him in the back, he would have done a live interview with Canal Football Club three minutes later? I don't think so. At no time did I strike him with my fist, and even less so from behind. I just pushed him."
The former Monaco goalkeeper added: "It's not the first time, and not necessarily during a derby. But this time, Mr. Aulas has gone too far. What he said is completely out of order, shameful and scandalous. Mr. Aulas is a liar."
Aulas, however, told L'Equipe it was Ruffier, not himself, who was deliberately twisting the facts, and reiterated his claims of Sunday evening that the Saint-Etienne No. 1 had forcefully pushed him against a wall.
"He had no place getting involved physically," the 64-year-old said. "He's not telling the truth, and the pictures show that. He went too far, even if -- for me -- the matter is closed."
Aulas will have other matters on his mind on Tuesday as the foundation stone of the club's new Stade des Lumieres is laid in Decines, just outside Lyon.
Having successfully overcome fierce local opposition to the project, Aulas will finally see building work on the 58,000-capacity venue get underway some three years later than planned.
The stadium, which is scheduled to be opened on Dec. 8, 2015, will cost an estimated 405 million euros to build, and will be one of 10 venues to stage Euro 2016 matches.