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Sporting world mourns in wake of Paris attacks

Sporting world mourns in wake of Paris attacks

Paris attacks

PARIS (Reuters) – All major sporting events in the Paris region were suspended on Saturday as France mourned the victims of the attacks in the capital city the night before that left 129 people dead and 352 wounded.

Shows of respect, sadness and support took place well beyond French borders as sport’s global family, from Sydney to Washington to Sao Paulo, united in sympathy.

Before the Euro 2016 soccer playoff between Sweden and Denmark at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, the stadium was lit up in red, white and blue.

Paris attacks
Sweden and Denmark’s national soccer teams observe a minute of silence to honor the victims in the terror attack in Paris, before their Euro 2016 qualifier play-off first leg match at the Friends arena in Stockholm, Sweden, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Marcus Ericsson/TT News Agency

Both teams wore black armbands and, led by Sweden and Paris St Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, observed a minute’s silence.

A minute’s silence was also held before the playoff between Ukraine and Slovenia in Lviv, with European football’s governing body announcing that UEFA games could feature similar tributes over the next few days.

The shows of solidarity with France went beyond Europe.

Paris attacks
Nov 14, 2015; West Point, NY, USA; Army Black Knights defensive back Caleb McNeill (31) carries a French flag on to the field alongside a French exchange cadet before a game against the Tulane Green Wave at Michie Stadium. Army honored the French a day after terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Sydney FC soccer fans held up a vast French tricolore ahead of an A-League match against Melbourne Victory while the ice was illuminated in red, white and blue before a Washington Capitals NHL game with Calgary Flames.

Jockeys at a major horse-race meeting in Cheltenham, England, all wore red, white and blue armbands and in the BMW Masters golf tournament in Shanghai, French golfer Benjamin Hebert had the message “Pray for Paris” emblazoned on his cap.

Paris attacks
Nov 14, 2015; Colorado Springs, CO, USA; An Air Force parachuter flies onto the field before the game with a French flag in honor of the victims of the November 13th terror attacks in Paris before the game between the Air Force Falcons and the Utah State Aggies at Falcon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

No matches were scheduled this weekend in France’s elite Ligue 1 but domestic TV stations Canal Plus and TF1 said they were calling off their main football programmes on Sunday.

A friendly international against England scheduled for Wembley on Tuesday will go ahead as planned, the French Football Federation said.

Paris attacks
Rugby Union – Northampton Saints v Scarlets – European Rugby Champions Cup Pool Three – Franklin’s Gardens – 14/11/15
General view as players and fans pause during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the game
Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs
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“As we speak the game is on, yes,” a spokesman for the federation told Reuters by telephone.

France were playing Germany at the Stade de France when the Saint-Denis attack took place outside the stadium.

Paris attacks
Nov 14, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets players along with fans observe a moment of silence in tribute to the victims of the attacks in Paris prior to the game at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

REMAIN UNIFIED

Former Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Lassana Diarra, who played for France in the friendly, said his cousin died in one of the shootings that took place in Paris.

On his official Twitter account, Diarra wrote: “In this climate of terror, it is important for all of us, who are representatives of our country and of diversity, to speak up and to remain unified in the face of a horror which has no colour, nor religion.

“Together, we must defend love, respect and peace.”

Paris attacks
Rugby Union – Gloucester Rugby v Zebre Rugby – European Rugby Challenge Cup Pool Four – Kingsholm – 14/11/15
Players pause during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match
Action Images via Reuters / Ian Smith
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European Professional Cup Rugby said on Saturday that all Champions Cup and Challenge Cup games in France this weekend would be cancelled.

All basketball and volleyball matches in the country were also called off.

Paris attacks
Football – Swindon Town v Scunthorpe United – Sky Bet Football League One – The County Ground – 14/11/15
General view as players and fans pause during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match
Action Images via Reuters / Tony O’Brien
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The risk level for the Euro 2016 soccer finals in France has increased but the competition should not be cancelled, the head of the organising committee said on Saturday.

“The risk had gone one level up in January, it has just gone higher,” Jacques Lambert told French radio RTL. “Wondering whether Euro 2016 must be cancelled is playing the game of the terrorists.”

Paris attacks
Rugby League – England v New Zealand – Third Test – DW Stadium, Wigan, England – 14/11/15
England players pause during a minute’s silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match
Action Images via Reuters / Craig Brough
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The committee handling France’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics said: “As Parisians we stand in solidarity with the people of Paris and of France in uniting against these acts of terror”.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), based in Lausanne, said the Olympic flag would fly at half-mast.

Paris attacks
Football – Oxford United v Cambridge United – Sky Bet Football League Two – Kassam Stadium – 14/11/15
General view as players and fans pause during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match
Action Images vie Reuters / Alan Walter
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“We stand united with all people from all around the globe. Our thoughts are of course with the families and friends of those who have been killed or wounded,” the IOC said.

There will also be a minute’s silence before the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday. French Lotus driver Romain Grosjean tweeted: “From Brazil we think of you.”

Paris attacks
Football – York City v Plymouth Argyle – Sky Bet Football League Two – Bootham Crescent – 14/11/15
York City manager Jackie McNamara (R) and staff pause during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match
Action Images via Reuters / Ryan Browne
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French tennis doubles pair Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert plan to pay tribute to the victims during the ATP World Tour Finals in London that start on Sunday.

“We are discussing with the ATP to do something, at least to wear something on the shirt,” said Mahut who lives in Paris.

Paris attacks
Rugby Union – Saracens v Toulouse – European Rugby Champions Cup Pool One – Allianz Park – 14/11/15
Toulouse players during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the game
Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley
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(By Julien Pretot, Additional reporting by Alan Baldwin, Ed Osmond and Ian Chadband, editing by John Stonestreet and Jane Merriman)

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