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Paris to erect big screen for France - Nigeria clash

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Paris to erect big screen for France - Nigeria clash
Paris has decided to screen the World Cup clash between France and Nigeria on a big screen on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP
14:35 CEST+02:00
Paris's Town Hall has become sufficiently gripped by World Cup fever that it has decided to project Monday's last 16 showdown between France and Nigeria on a giant screen in the city. The move comes after the capital's fan park was cancelled this year.

Paris's tradition of massive outdoor screenings of the World Cup looked like it was going to be broken this year, but the success of Didier Deschamps "Les Bleus" has kept it alive.

After the French have made it to the crucial knockout stages of the World Cup, the Town Hall has agreed to show the big game against Nigeria on the plaza outside Hôtel de Ville in central Paris. The game kicks-off at 6 pm Paris time.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to "accompany Parisians in their mania for "Les Bleus" the Town Hall told BFMTV. 

The screen will stay in place if France continue to progress through the tournament. The Town Hall could not confirm if the other matches in the tournament will be shown live on the giant screen.

Budget cuts, hooliganism and lack of interest from the public had appeared to push officials to drop their nearly 20-year-old tradition of open-air screenings of World Cup matches. However, Town Hall left open a possibility it would change its mind.

“If Les Bleus qualify for the quarter finals, or maybe even before, which we hope for with all our hearts, then we may consider a public screening in Paris," an unnamed Paris Town Hall source previously told French sport magazine So Foot.

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Outbreaks of violence in previous years didn't do much to encourage city officials to keep fan park tradition going either. When France were knocked out of Euro 2012 the Hyundai Fan Park at the Trocadero witnessed clashes between fans and police.

Authorities in the capital also have bad memories of when Paris Saint-Germain's celebrations at winning the Ligue 1 title in 2013 turned into a riot at the same location. The violence left 32 people injured and saw fans run amok on the Champs-Elysées, causing a considerable amount of damage.

A privately-sponsored fan park had been under consideration in Paris, but fell through when Hyundai turned down an unnamed site the city proposed in lieu of the Trocadero location.

Paris won't be the only major French city without a town-sponsored fan park. City officials in Lyon told The Local on Wednesday they also have no plans to show the matches on a giant screen.

Sadly the lack of big screens is not the only obstacle for fans hoping to watch the World Cup.

French terrestrial TV station TF1 has sold the exclusive broadcast rights for 36 of 64 World Cup matches to the paid TV channel BeIN Sports, which is only available through subscription. 

A French lawmaker was so incensed by the deal he wrote a letter to the government saying it “deprived” the French people of the joy of watching matches. For now it looks like the pay TV agreement will stand.

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