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WORLD CUP

France to deploy 110,000 police officers for Bastille Day and World Cup final

Some 110,000 police and gendarmes will be deployed in France this weekend as the country marks the annual July 14th celebrations and Les Bleus take on Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday.

France to deploy 110,000 police officers for Bastille Day and World Cup final

Announcing the security measures French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said: “Everything will b put in place so the French can enjoy these festive moments with peace of mind despite the threat from terrorism which remains high.”

Paris will see a huge security presence this weekend with some 12,000 police and gendarmes drafted in for the annual Bastille Day celebrations on Saturday and the World Cup final on Sunday.

The ongoing threat from terrorism and the huge crowds expected in the capital over the weekend means police and gendarmes will be out in their thousands, and there will also be an extra 3,000 emergency medical responders.

Some 2,000 soldiers will also patrol the streets over the weekend, as part of the Operation Sentinelle which has seen troops deployed around Paris since the January 2015 terror attacks.

Paris police chief Michel Delpuech said the deployment of 12,000 officers for Saturday's Bastille Day celebrations and the World Cup final on Sunday was “an important measure to make sure the party is not spoiled by any tragic incidents”.

Saturday will see the traditional July 14th military parade down the Champs Elysées Avenue which will require a huge security presence and a police cordon set up around the area.

Saturday night will also see the traditional firework display at the Eiffel Tower where a heavy police presence will be in place.

On Sunday French football fans will flock to the city's bars as well as the giant screen that will be erected at the Champs de Mars under the Eiffel Tower in order to watch the final of the World Cup between Les Bleus and Croatia.

Security is expected to be tight at the Champs de Mars and fans can expect to be search several times on entry to the area. The fanzone is expected to accommodate up to 90,000 people.

“All access will be controlled, no one will get through without being searched and checked,” said the Paris police chief.

If France win the World Cup early on Sunday evening fans will no doubt pour onto the streets as they did on Tuesday night after the semi-final victory over Belgium when people clambered on top of buses and blocked roads.

“In case of a victory for the France team, the celebration of this success will give rise to scenes of jubilation, crowd gatherings which we had a taste of already after the semi-final,” said police chief Delpuech, who said that the area around the Champs Elysées would likely be blocked to traffic in the case of a triumph for Les Bleus.

In case of a French victory, some 4,000 police officers will be on hand Sunday night, having already had a taste of what's in store after France 
secured its place in the finals on Tuesday night.

Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets, snarling traffic for hours, with some clashes between youths and police erupting on the Champs 
Elysees later in the evening, leading officers to fire tear gas before evacuating the avenue.

“If our team wins the World Cup, we'll block off vehicle access over a vast perimeter” around the Champs Elysees, Delpuech said, adding that it would be an unprecedented measure

“The goal is to avoid what we saw in 1998 when thousands of people attempted to reach the city centre by car, leading to three crashes and one 
person's death.

 

 

 

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FOOTBALL

France plans to keep growing women’s game after World Cup disappointment

France faces the challenge of continuing to develop women's football after the bitter disappointment of elimination from the World Cup by the United States.

France plans to keep growing women's game after World Cup disappointment
France players after the defeat against USA. Photo: AFP

“Back to Earth” was how sports daily L'Equipe put it after the host nation lost 2-1 to the holders in a quarter-final played out before a feverish crowd in Paris.

L'Equipe talked of “the disappointment of a shattered adventure” because coach Corinne Diacre's team had dreamt of emulating the men, World Cup winners in Russia last year and also winners as hosts in 1998.

The team had been desperate to make it to Lyon, where the semi-finals and final will be played and where seven of those who featured for France on Friday play their club football for Europe's top side.

Instead, France find themselves out of a fifth straight major tournament in the quarter-finals. To rub salt into the wounds, Friday's defeat had the knock-on effect of denying them a place at next year's Olympics.

Diacre had been set the objective of reaching the final, which always looked a daunting challenge once the draw raised the likelihood of an early meeting with the USA.

Amid the dejection on Friday, Diacre stated her wish to continue, and on Saturday French Football Federation (FFF) President Noel Le Graet confirmed she would stay.

“She will be in charge until the end of her contract, if not longer,” Le Graet told AFP.

That means until Euro 2021 in England at least, and the aim in France is to keep developing the women's game to give them a chance of one day going all the way.

The FFF hope the number of registered female players will reach 200,000 next year, an increase of almost 10 percent from present figures, but far from the two million registered male players.

They have also promised to invest 15 million euros into a post-World Cup “legacy” fund.

The interest in the women's game is there, as shown by television audiences during the World Cup, with 11.8 million watching the USA game on terrestrial TV.

However, translating that to an increased following in the women's domestic league will be a bigger challenge.

France games have drawn sell-out crowds at the World Cup, but in general attendances in domestic competition are modest at best, even if almost 26,000 saw powerhouses Lyon beat closest rivals Paris Saint-Germain earlier this year.

“We cannot go from so much enthusiasm now to league matches on poor pitches with only 120 fans,” said Le Graet. “We all need to make an effort and we will.”

Matches are televised, but like elsewhere income remains light years from rights deals in the men's game — a new sponsorship contract for the 12-club top flight with chemicals company Arkema is worth one million euros per season for three years.

Average salaries are reportedly around 3,500 euros per month, although stars like Amandine Henry and Wendie Renard are believed to earn almost 10 times that at Lyon, who have won the Champions League in the last four years. Again, those sums are dwarfed by the wages often on offer to the men.

“We need to keep putting money in, keep professionalising, because other countries are doing it and maybe that's why they are ahead of us,” warned Lyon and France forward Eugenie Le Sommer.

“We have a good league but unfortunately not every team is professional.

“There are countries who are ahead of us and we must catch up. Even Spain are putting lots of money in and we need to make sure we are not left behind.”

READ ALSO: France coach laments 'failure' as hosts knocked out of World Cup

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