‘All I see is a massive Covid-19 cluster’ – No fanzones in Paris for Champions League final

There will be no fanzones in the French capital for this weekend's Champions League final that pitches Paris Saint-Germain against Bayern Munich, authorities told AFP on Thursday.

'All I see is a massive Covid-19 cluster' - No fanzones in Paris for Champions League final
PSG supporters celebrated on the Champs Elysée Avenue after their team's 3-0 win over RB Leipzig, during the 2020 Champions League semi-finalplayed in Lisbon. Photo: AFP

French football fans will be holding their breath as PSG take on Bayern in Lisbon on Sunday, in a Champions League final that could see a French team win the prestigious cup for the first time since 1993.

It is also the first time the PSG has made it to the final, yet fans will have to watch the game from their homes or a bar, as the mayor's office has said no to fanzones in the city.

“All I see is an massive Covid-19 cluster,” Paris health official Anne Souyris said of a potential fanzone.

The PSG's Champions League successes have coincided with several departments in the Île-de-France region around Paris passing the “alert threshold” of 50 new daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Souyris told AFP she recommended gatherings in small groups of 10 or less in cafés where social distancing is possible, to prevent the game night from causing the number of new coronavirus cases in the capital to spike further.

She also blew off Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu's proposed fanzone plans “a bad suggestion”.

“It's not thought out and it doesn't make any sense from a health point of view,” Souyris said.

PSG had planned a live transmission of the game for 5,000 spectators at its Parc des Princes ground, which is the upper limit of people allowed in a gathering.

“If we do that at the stadium, we risk having groupings we won't be able to manage,” Souyris said.

Following PSG's semi-final victory on Tuesday, French police arrested 36 people including three minors after clashes on the Champs-Elysées and around PSG's home ground of the Parc des Princes, in the west of the capital.

Thousands of PSG fans, often young and for the most part not wearing masks in line with coronavirus health and safety protocols, paraded down the Champs-Elysées in cars, and on mopeds and scooters, in a cacophony of horn-blowing and chanting.


Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti condemned the fans' actions as a “disgrace.”

“The judicial system will be vigilant and the Paris prosecutor's office will bring the perpetrators of these acts of violence on the Champs Elysées,” he wrote in a tweet.



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Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed

Striking airport workers have blocked part Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, with some flights already delayed by at least one hour.

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed
Striking airport workers outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt | AFP

Last month, trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) – the city’s Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports – called for a strike between July 1st and July 5th in an ongoing dispute between French airport workers and bosses over contract renegotiations.

A second wave of protests are expected next week, after a strike notice was filed for July 9th.

Tensions mounted on Friday morning as some 400 protesters staged a raucous demonstration at CDG’s terminal 2E, which mostly deals with flights outside the Schengen zone, as police officers looked on.

At Orly airport, meanwhile, some 250 people demonstrated “outside”, while a small group was inside.

The dispute is over a long-term plan by ADP to bring in new work contracts for employees at the airports, which unions say will lower pay, job losses and a reduction in rights and bonuses for employees.

The strike is being jointly called by the CGT, CFE-CGE, Unsa, CFDT and FO unions, who said in a joint press release that the proposals will “definitively remove more than a month’s salary from all employees and force them to accept geographical mobility that will generate additional commuting time”.

Unions say that staff face dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts.

ADP said on Wednesday that it expected ‘slight delays for some flights but no cancellations’ to services – but it urged travellers to follow its social media operations for real-time updates.

On Thursday, the first day of action, 30 percent of flights were delayed between 15 minutes and half-an-hour.

ADP’s CEO Augustin de Romanet had said on Tuesday that ‘everything would be done to ensure no flight is cancelled’. 

ADP reported a loss of €1.17 billion in 2020. 

Stressing that discussions are continuing over the proposed new contracts, the CEO called for “an effort of solidarity, with a red line: no forced layoffs.”