France’s football teams commit to train travel for matches

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France’s football teams commit to train travel for matches
France's footballers will make more journeys by train in future, under green plans announced by the FFF. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI / AFP)

France's football federation has announced that national sides will make trips of three hours or less by train, not plane, in order to 'set an example'.


Didier Deschamps’ France are set to let the train take the strain for journeys of three hours or less in future, the president of the Fédération Française de Football (FFF) has announced.

Under France's new environmental laws, domestic flights are banned if the journey can be made by train in less than two-and-a-half hours - but this does not apply to private planes.

Last year the French team Paris-Saint-Germain found themselves the centre of a controversy when it was revealed that they had taken a plane from Paris to Nantes.

Now FFF president Philippe Diallo committed to more environmentally friendly travel for all France’s national sides. 

“Our national teams will take the train for all journeys of less than three hours … including the senior teams," Diallo said.


He revealed that the possibility of rail travel for France squads had been on the table since March, and had involved discussions with French train operator SNCF and public authorities.

“We have already agreed with Hervé Renard that the women's team would travel to Valenciennes by train. We agreed with Thierry Henry that his under-21 team would travel to Nancy by train. 

“With Didier Deschamps, we're looking into the possibility of our France senior team travelling by train for the matches in Lyon in March, to ensure that our France team sets a good example and highlights a policy of ecological transition that we support.”

Diallo said that the FFF recognised potential issues with the senior squad travelling by train - including knock-on effects for other passengers, as well as the impact on travel and recovery times for players.

France’s next home international, against Gibraltar, is in November - but it won’t be affected by the change in travel plans, as the match kicks off in Nice, more than three hours’ travel from the national sides’ headquarters.

Alain Krakovitch, Director of TGV-Intercités at SNCF Voyageurs, reacted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter: “Well done Les Bleus, who have announced that, from now on, national teams will have to travel by train for journeys of less than 3 hours! Discussions are indeed underway with our expert team.”


The football federation's efforts follow the lead of rugby. National teams taking part in the Rugby World Cup in France travelled between the nine host cities on trains. Organisers estimated that squads took the train some 70 times during the tournament, as part of the host nation’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions during the tournament. 

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The All Blacks travelled from their base camp in Lyon to Paris, while Uruguay made the journey from Avignon to Lille for their pool phase match against France.

The commitment was built into the development of the match schedule to optimise timing for teams and fans.

Base camps were chosen to limit squads’ carbon footprint. England, with two games in Lille, during the early stages of the tournament, were based in Le Touquet.


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