October 23, 2016

England friendly against France to go ahead

England v France at Wembley

The soccer friendly between England and France in London will go ahead as planned on Tuesday, despite major concerns over safety following the deadly attacks in Paris.

The match was confirmed by the French and English federations on Saturday after they consulted with the British government.

“We will use the opportunity to pay our respects to all affected, and also to express our solidarity with the people of France,” FA chairman Greg Dyke said.

FFF president Noel Le Graet said France was ready, although it appeared the players may not have been consulted.
“I didn’t ask the players the question: They’re playing,” Le Graet told RTL radio station.

“There were hesitations, but not on our part. France is on its feet, and so is football.”
Midfielder Lassana Diarra, who played against Germany in a friendly on Friday at Stade de France, lost his cousin in the shootings, and posted a moving message on his Twitter feed.

“My cousin, Asta Diakite, was among the victims of one of the shootings yesterday, along with hundreds of other innocent French people. She was like a big sister to me,” Diarra wrote.

“It is important for all of us who represent our country and its diversity to stay united against a horror which has no color, no religion. Stand together for love, respect and peace.”

Teammate Antoine Griezmann, who also played on Friday, said his sister was in the audience at a concert at the Bataclan hall in Paris, where dozens were killed after a hostage taking.

“Thank God my sister was able to leave the Bataclan. All my prayers are now with the families of the victims,” he tweeted.

Diarra and Griezmann were involved in the 2-0 loss to Germany, which was overshadowed by the explosions of two suicide bombers outside the stadium during the first half. France President Francois Hollande, who was at the match, was evacuated.

Media events scheduled for Saturday at France’s training camp in Clairefontaine were canceled.
At least 129 people have died in the shootings in Paris.

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