French league set for tight security

2015-11-19 08:05
The Eiffel Tower illuminated with the colours of the French national flag in tribute to the victims of November 13 Paris terror attacks which killed at least 129 people. (Eric Feferburg, AFP)

Paris - Tight security will overshadow the resumption of Ligue 1 action in France on Friday when Nice host Lyon, one week on from the terror attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead and 350 injured.

France were playing Germany at the Stade de France on November 13 when three explosions were heard outside the national stadium. Three suicide bombers killed themselves along with one bystander.

Junior Sports Minister Thierry Braillard with French football officials took the decision on Tuesday to allow Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches to go ahead under heavy security, but without away fans.

"Sporting competitions must continue because if we suspend them, that is what these barbaric people want, which is to destabilise our daily way of life," explained Braillard.

League president Frederic Thiriez said security forces across the country were too stretched to allow fans to travel.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's friendly between England and France at Wembley he said: "The Interior Ministry does not have sufficient mobilised forces to guarantee at the same time the presence of away supporters and overall security."

Popular sports daily L'Equipe paid tribute to the United Kingdom after fans sang La Marseillaise ahead of the match, as part of a series of tributes.

The French national anthem will also be sung at all domestic matches this weekend in respect to the victims.

"THANK YOU" (to the British) was the newspaper's front page headline after England carved out a meaningless 2-0 win in the capital with Prince William and British Prime Minister David Cameron in attendance.

As both European football's governing body UEFA and the French government were moved to dispel fears over France's ability to host Euro 2016, the French league returns but under a tight security blanket.

Paris Saint-Germain, a healthy 10 point clear of Lyon, travel to Lorient on Saturday, Laurent Blanc's French champions notably affected by the attacks.

Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore lost two friends at the Bataclan concert hall where 89 people were murdered.

"Two of my friends were at the Bataclan and they have a restaurant about 300-metres from where I live. They were at the concert and sadly they are dead," explained Pastore.

"I am very sad about what has happened in France, not only for the French but also the world. It is a shock to find the city in this tragic situation." he added.

Marseille's international midfielder Lassana Diarra was another top flight player touched by the atrocities as his cousin Asta Diakite was also killed in the massacre at one of Paris' most popular music venues.

"Lass (Diarra) is hurting to the bone over a person who is very close to him," explained France coach Didier Deschamps.

Saint-Etienne will host the Velodrome club in the final match of the weekend on Sunday.

Elsewhere on Sunday, third-placed Caen host promoted Angers, who are just two points out of the Champions League places.

The pick of Saturday's ties takes place on the Cote d'Azur when Monaco welcome Nantes. 

Read more on:    paris  |  france  |  ligue 1  |  soccer


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