AUXERRE, France (AP)Auxerre coach Jean-Marc Furlan said he has been fired by the French league club after he gave opposing fans the middle finger during a match.

Speaking to local newspaper L’Yonne Republicaine, Furlan said he was notified of a 10-day suspension on Tuesday.

”I understood that it was prior to a dismissal,” he said. ”Club officials are using as a pretext this moody gesture I made in Clermont, which I deeply regret.”

Auxerre previously apologized for its coach’s behavior. Furlan was sent off deep in added time during Auxerre’s 2-1 loss at Clermont on Sunday.

Furlan said he went to argue with match referee Mathieu Vernice because he was under the impression Clermont was not sanctioned enough for its fouls. He said he made the gesture after spectators insulted him when he got up to talk to the referee.

In its statement released on Monday, Auxerre said Furlan’s ”inappropriate attitude” does not correspond to the club’s values ”of respect and fair play.”

Auxerre has failed to win its past six league games, lagging 18 points behind leader PSG in 16th place.

Furlan is the third French league coach fired this season after Lyon’s Peter Bosz and Brest’s Michel Der Zakarian.

AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup