22 Nov 2015

French national anthem to be played before EPL games

1:10 pm on 22 November 2015

The French national anthem was played before all of England's Premier League football matches this weekend.

Wembley lit in French colours 2015

Wembley lit in French colours 2015 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"La Marseillaise" rang out after the coin toss in tribute to those who lost their lives in the Paris attacks of last weekend.

More than 70 Frenchmen play in the Premier League, making France the second-most represented nation after England.

"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," the Premier League's chief executive Richard Scudamore said in a statement.

The Premier League has also consulted the police, security advisors and Britain's interior ministry with regards to safety and security at matches in the wake of the attacks in the French capital.

"The clubs have been fully briefed in context of the current guidance from national security services and are liaising with their local police forces to ensure the appropriate security and safety measures are in place for their matches and stadiums," added Scudamore in another statement.

Meanwhile Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger has paid tribute to "the English community and English football" for their sympathetic reaction to last week's attacks in Paris.

England fans sang the French national anthem prior to Tuesday's friendly between the two countries at Wembley, with the words in French displayed on big screens.

And the stadium's giant arch was lit up in the red, white and blue of the French flag.

Wenger, who attended the game and was caught on camera singing along to La Marseillaise, said that despite the attacks, which left 129 people dead and more than 350 injured, it was correct for the match to go ahead.

"I would like to thank the English community and English football, who have shown great solidarity. It was a huge shock for our country and our football," Wenger said.

"You always think after this kind of event: do you continue to play, or do you stop your life? For me they made the right decision and the event on (Wednesday NZT) has shown it was the right decision.

"The football world has responded the way you want it to respond in a big union and togetherness."

Wenger said that he had been due to attend last Friday's friendly between France and Germany at Paris's Stade de France, which was targeted by suicide bombers outside the ground, only for a late change of plans.

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde, another Frenchman, has revealed that his daughter was in Paris at the time of the attacks, which unfolded while he was in a taxi after flying back to France.

"They said (on the radio) there was an explosion outside the stadium," Garde told a press conference. "We didn't know too much at this time, then I went home and learnt my daughter was in Paris for the weekend.

"I didn't know that. I was scared a little bit, but just for two hours because I had her on the phone and it was OK. Everyone in France has a cousin or daughter or friends in Paris."

- Reuters