Steven Defour banner leaves fans facing criminal charges

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Standard Leige fans found a special way to welcome former midfield maestro Steven Defour back to the club last weekend, but one of the most epic banners ever unfurled in European football could land the creators with a five-year stadium ban and fine up to €5,000.

Defour's return to his former club as a key figure for bitter rivals Anderlecht was always likely to be a fiery occasion, but nobody expected a crowd response on the scale Liege produced and their bid to get a reaction from the playmaker clearly had the desired effect.

The 26-year-old rose to the bait, sent off for angrily kicking the ball into towards the home fans to end a day that has Belgian football in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Ex-captain gets both barrels

Premier League players clearly live a sheltered life when it comes to making the dreaded trip to an ex-club.

Robin van Persie can count himself lucky to get away with a chorus of jeers when he returns to the Emirates on this evidence.

Standard fans were absolutely livid with the return of a player who is regarded as nothing short of a traitor after crossing a divide which doesn't receive the publicity to match the strong feeling shared by both sets of supports.

Expect ramifications

Defour managed to upset both sets of fans last weekend, with Anderlecht supporters also clearly furious with the red card after they decided to show their disgust by throwing seats onto the pitch.

It's the Standard faithful who are rightly under the microscope though, with a spokesperson for the Belgian interior ministry confirming to BBC Sport that an investigation is underway into the one of the most offensive banners seen in modern times.

"We're working with police to catch as many of the authors of this banner as possible," the ministry official said.

The sheer size and scale of the operation to produce the provocative piece alone is quite impressive, made and sponsored by fanatical Standard supporters group Ultras Inferno 96 club.

Their leader has reportedly already been questioned by Belgian police, with the national football association announcing earlier today that they're currently looking at the most effective way to punish those involved.

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