From Paris to Perth soccer stars, coaches and fans united in their tributes to people killed in this week’s bloodshed in the French capital.
After elite forces stormed two hostage sites, killing the brothers behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre and a jihadist accomplice in a fiery end that also claimed the lives of four hostages at a city center supermarket, sports honored the innocent lives lost.
In Montpellier in southern France, spectators at the top-flight soccer match between the home side and league leaders Olympique de Marseille observed a minute’s silence before the national anthem.
Players of both sides wore black armbands as the game at the Stade de la Mosson kicked off.
All amateur soccer games due to be played in Paris and the surrounding Ile-de-France region have been called off.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc admitted it had not been easy to prepare for yesterday’s Ligue 1 clash with SC Bastia in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
“We have to work hard and train, even if it’s not in a happy context,” Blanc said. “We got together in the center-circle at midday [Thursday, for the nationwide minute’s silence] just like the rest of the country.”
“Footballers are citizens who are not insensitive to what’s happening,” he said.
In London, Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger said he hoped his compatriots would stay united after the “dreadful and terrible” attacks.
Wenger expressed his dismay at the events and hopes that what happened will not polarize the French population along religious or ethnic lines.
“It is a dreadful and terrible situation,” the Frenchman said. “It is shocking. I think the whole country is shocked.”
“France is a country with a freedom of speech, it has a big history and to think in a country like France you can die today because of your ideas and the way you want to speak is absolutely shocking,” he said.
In Australia, Oman’s French soccer coach Paul le Guen said he was in shock.
Speaking ahead of Oman’s Asian Cup game against South Korea yesterday, the ex-Lyon boss sent his condolences to families grieving in France.
“It’s unusual, but I want to say one word about what has happened in France,” the former PSG star said, unprompted.
“My thoughts are with the families in France who were involved in this drama. We feel very sad, we are in a state of shock,” Lu Guen said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Hong Kong media reported that police briefly detained a man in a Liverpool team jersey who shouted “long live Liverpool” during anti-government protests on Wednesday, over suspicion that he was inciting independence. In-Media reported that the man was across the street from police officers who were conducting stop-and-searches on a group of protesters, when he shouted: “Long live Liverpool.” Others reportedly cheered and joined in the chant, before officers detained him. The man told In-Media that police had accused him of inciting Hong Kong independence, which now is a punishable crime. He said that he has been a fan of the English soccer
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there