French national anthem will be played as mark of respect for Paris victims before all of this weekend’s matches as “an act of solidarity and remembrance” following last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. England supporters joined in with the singing of the French national anthem before Tuesday’s friendly with France at Wembley and now the domestic programme will resume after its two-week break with a similar tribute. With 72 registered players France is the Premier League’s second-most-represented nation after England.
The Premier League’s executive chairman, Richard Scudamore, confirmed a choral version of La Marseillaise will be played after the coin toss with players from both teams coming together with the referee and his assistants in the centre circle facing the main stand.
“Given how close we are, as well as the long-standing relationship that exists between the Premier League and France, playing La Marseillaise as an act of solidarity and remembrance is the right thing to do,” said Scudamore. “We were all saddened and deeply shocked by the events in Paris last Friday, and the fact it was an attack on people enjoying their everyday freedoms like going to a bar, a concert or a football match resonates with football fans and the general public throughout the UK.”
The move was welcomed by Premier League managers, including Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger. “I think it’s a nice gesture of solidarity,” the Frenchman said. “It’s not an obvious one for the fans, just like it would not be an obvious one for fans in France to sing God Save the Queen, because they don’t know the words. Symbolically it’s a very nice gesture.”