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ZLATAN

Top French football clubs boycott TV channel

Top French clubs Paris Saint Germain and Marseille are boycotting a leading French broadcaster for showing film of incidents which led to bans for star players Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Dimitri Payet.

Top French football clubs boycott TV channel
Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: AFP
Both were punished for tirades aimed at referees which were shown by Canal Plus. As a reprisal, PSG and Marseille say they will not answer the station's questions after games or at press conferences until the end of the season.
   
Paris coach Laurent Blanc rejected a question from Canal Plus after Saturday's League Cup final win over Bastia. The channel attended Blanc's press conference Tuesday ahead of PSG's Champions League quarter final clash against Barcelona, but it did not try to ask a question.
   
Paris are furious at a four match ban imposed after Canal Plus pictures showed Swedish star Ibrahimovic in an expletive-laden rant against referees and France after his side lost at Bordeaux.
   
French international Payet was banned for two matches for shouting at the referees room that Marseille had been "screwed" after a goal was disallowed in their 0-0 draw with title rivals Lyon. Again it was shown by the subscription broadcaster which, with BeIn Sport, has the rights to show French league games.
   
France's two most popular clubs said in a statement they "do not want to take the risk of being open to new sanctions linked to unfortunate comments provoked by a controversial refereeing decision."
   
They added that "the number of Canal Plus group cameras and microphones that surround the teams in all circumstances, and the possibility of a
retroactive judgement after the showing of images used as proof by football judges lead us to adopt this very great caution."
   
Canal Plus deputy director general Maxime Saada told AFP that the channel had become a "hostage" between the clubs and league disciplinary judges because of film taken around the Ligue 1 matches.    
 
He said this was "stopping our teams of journalists from carrying out their jobs."
   
Saada said that Canal Plus was a "respectful partner" of French clubs and wants only to show "the spectacle of Ligue 1 and its 20 clubs in its totality."    
 
The channel currently pays 420 million euros ($448 million) a year to show French matches and from 2016 this will rise to 540 million euros a year.
 
Despite Canal Plus protests, French clubs have been showing increasing mistrust of the channel.
   
According to media reports, the Professional Football League planned to send Canal Plus an official letter warning it to stick to their contract.
   
Under the deal between the broadcaster and the clubs, it promises "not to promote scenes contrary to the image of football" and "to give a positive image of football putting the emphasis on beautiful gestures and the beautiful game."
   
League officials have indicated that if Canal Plus does not change its ways it could be stopped from filming off the pitch.
   
Some clubs also feel they get a more critical treatment from Canal Plus than from the rival BeIn Sport, representatives told AFP.
   
But Lyon coach Hubert Fournier said television channels should not be "falsely accused" for the actions of players.
   
"From the moment you accept them (TV cameras) in these mixed zones, it is for the actors to be conscious of their comments and actions to avoid this kind of scandal," said Fournier.
   
The French government's Secretary of State for Sport Thierry Braillard said he was "profoundly surprised and disappointed" at the decision of Paris and Marseille.

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ZLATAN

‘Legend’ Zlatan Ibrahimovic announces he will leave PSG

Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced on Friday that he would be leaving PSG at the end of the season.

'Legend' Zlatan Ibrahimovic announces he will leave PSG
Photo: Thibault Camus/TT

The giant striker announced his departure from PSG on Twitter in true Ibrahimovic style. 

'My last game tomorrow at Parc des Princes. I came like a king, left like a legend,” he wrote on his Twitter account in English, a sign that despite after four years in the French capital he didn't quite pick up the local lingo.

 

In a later statement PSG said: “After discussions between Paris Saint-Germain and the agent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the club and the player have mutually decided not to renew his contract.

“They have also agreed that once his playing career is over, Ibra will join the management of the club in a position of responsability.”

In the meantime, Ibrahimovic will make his French swansong as a player when he turns out for Sweden at Euro 2016 in June.

Ibrahimovic, who once said Paris should replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of himself,  won four consecutive league titles with PSG, as well as three League Cups. 

But both he and the club came up short in their bid to be crowned champions of Europe.

There had been speculation about whether he would remain in Paris for one further season in the hope he could get his hands on the elusive Champions League trophy.

But in the end Ibrahimovic, who spent four years at Paris after signing from Milan, has decided the time is right to walk away.

There have been rumours he is set to join LA Galaxy in the US Major League Soccer, while reports also linked hil to a move to England's Premier League or his former Club AC Milan. 

His last game at the home of PSG will be against Nantes on Saturday, although he will be expected to feature in the French cup final between PSG and Marseille at the national Stade de France stadium on May 21st.

He leaves with a healthy trophy haul but also having become the top scorer in the club's history in just four years and recently was crowned the best player in Ligue 1 for the third time in four years.

SEE ALSO: Ten of the best quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Photo: AFP