Political tension unlikely to see tonight’s key qualifier, France vs Turkey, cancelled

L’Équipe report that there is some thinking going on currently by the powers that be regarding the possible cancellation of tonight’s crucial EURO 2020 qualifier between France and Turkey owing to the current political tensions between the two nations over treatment of Kurdish forces in Northern Syria.

The French government has reminded journalists that only UEFA can take a decision to cancel a match.

Multiple political parties, including Jean-Luc Melenchon’s “la France insoumise” are calling for the cancellation of tonight’s match owing to the current political context.

Government sources had the following to say on the matter:

“This match cannot be cancelled by France, but uniquely by UEFA. From our standpoint, it is not even a question. Certain elected officials are putting pressure on us through a misunderstanding over procedure relating to these sporting instances by thinking that the government can bring about the cancellation of a match, which is not the case. Only a factor such as a threat or a wave of attacks can justify the demand of the French government to cancel.”

The major concerns currently centre around possible public tensions both inside and outside the Stade de France. A police source said the following:

“We are in a place that is completely used to these types of matches. The tools at our disposal are considerable to face any problems. We are not in a situation where a match cancelation is currently being envisaged.”

A source on the sporting side added:

“A unilateral French decision not to play would risk the possibility of automatically losing that match. For the FFF, that is out of the question. And on the political side, that would be to show weakness.”

Jean-Yves le Drian, the head of French diplomacy, has cancelled his attendance of tonight’s match this lunchtime. The French government implied in a statement that the Turkish players’ decision to do a salute during the national anthem on Friday against Albania in Istanbul has not been appreciated.

“Their military salute in no case contributes to appeasing fans and France in terms of diplomatic relations with Turkey. We have asked the FFF to inform us of the eventual sanctions that UEFA could take against the Turkish federation (for that act), but at this stage, the length of the usual disciplinary procedures are incompatible with a decision being made today.”


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