SHARE
COPY LINK
LE THOUGHT DU JOUR

EURO 2016

Euro 2016 shows the French really don’t get the British

One thing Euro 2016 in France has taught us is that the French really don’t get Britain or indeed the British. And we can't really blame them, writes Ben McPartland.

Euro 2016 shows the French really don't get the British
It's all too confusing for the French. Photo: AFP

I can’t be the only Brit in France to have been inundated by questions from befuddled French friends and colleagues in the last couple of weeks.

Euro 2016 has left them in a bit of a spin when it comes to Grande-Bretagne and its natives, and understandably so.

One French woman practically accused us of cheating in Euro 2016 because we had so many football teams in the competition.

“It’s not fair you have four chances of winning, we only have one,” she said presumably lumping Ireland in with the British teams of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I immediately calmed her by explaining that we had four chances of being desperately disappointed and that even with four teams, our odds of one team winning it remained zero. (However if Italy, France, Germany and Spain split up into regional teams, then we’d have a chance.)

I also explained that the important detail was that there isn’t really a “we” when it comes to football in Britain, given everyone’s tribal loyalties.

Granted most fans would be happy to see another British team do well (excluding Scotland and England perhaps) but they really only support one team.

Telling her that football was invented in Britain so we basically get to tell footballing chiefs at Fifa that we still want separate teams, even if they are not separate UN recognized countries, just confused her more.

But she wasn’t the only one who doesn’t get the difference between Britain and England. The French written press and TV commentators appear to have no idea either.

They regularly refer to the English as “Les Brittaniques” rather than “Les Anglais” although they do use that term too.

We shouldn't be surprised given that in the last Olympics the same commentators and sports writers would mostly refer to the British competitors as “Les Anglais”. The likes of Andy Murray probably wouldn’t take too kindly to that.

Nevertheless, can we really blame them, given how confusing it all is with Britain competing as one country in the Olympics and as four in international football tournaments.

But it wasn’t just the status of the British sporting teams that had the French asking questions.

They were once again left pondering why do the English (although in this case “British” would have been fairer) drink so much and why do the English (definitely not the “British” in this case) always cause trouble.

The explanations for those questions should be left for someone with more knowledge than me to answer, but let’s just say the TV images of England fans guzzling back pint after pint from early morning and videos of a minority of fans chanting offensive songs about the war and throwing tables and chairs from all those lovely terraces at French police, have left the locals pondering perhaps if they’d be better off it Brexit happened.

Again, can you really blame them?

Some French have posed the question of whether the results in Euro 2016 could influence the ballot on Thursday.

With all three British teams making it into the knock-out stages, surely voters will see that staying in Europe is not a bad an idea after all.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

EURO 2016

Euro 2016 gave France billion euro boost to struggling economy

Hosting the Euro 2016 football tournament cost France less than €200 million ($211 million) but brought some €1.22 billion into the country, according to figures released by the ministry of sports Tuesday.

Euro 2016 gave France billion euro boost to struggling economy
Photo:AFP

There was controversy over the public funds poured into the tournament, with some 24 million euros — double the expected cost — spent on security in light of an increased terrorist threat.

The state spent a further 160 million euros on building and renovating venues for the June and July event, while private funds and tournament organiser UEFA covered the remaining costs.

But Euro 2016 brought 1.221 billion euros into the country both in tourism and spending directly related to the organisation of the tournament, according to data compiled by the Centre of the Law and Economics of Sport at Limoges University (CDES) and the consultancy firm Keneo.

In calculating the figures, researchers took into account the loss from potential tourists who would have stayed away from France to avoid the tournament, as well as the state funds which could have been used elsewhere had they not been set aside for venues.

The average tournament visitor spent 154 euros a day, with most of that going on accommodation and eating out, the study said, with tourism providing a 625.8 million euro boost to the country.

UEFA spent some 360 million euros on organising the tournament in the country, while 24 participating teams gave the economy a 34.9 million euro boost.

Accredited persons for the event spent 34.8 million euros while in the country, and sponsors 22.6 million euros, according to the figures.

Last January the CDES predicted Euro 2017 would bring in 1.266 billion euros in additional expenditure, or 0.1 percent of France's GDP.

SHOW COMMENTS