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French anthem to be played before weekend Premier League games

Published 20/11/2015

The French anthem will be played ahead of every Premier League match this weekend
The French anthem will be played ahead of every Premier League match this weekend

The French national anthem will be played before all Premier League matches this weekend in tribute to the victims of the Paris terror attacks.

A one-minute silence is also to be observed while players will wear black armbands in memory of the 129 people killed in the French capital on Friday night.

The decision from the Premier League comes after English and French fans united to sing La Marseillaise ahead of England's 2-0 win at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The French anthem will be played after the coin toss of each match with players to stand in the centre circle and face the main stand.

"Given how close we are as well as the long-standing relationship that exists between the Premier League and France, playing La Marseillaise as an act of solidarity and remembrance is the right thing to do," said Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore.

"We were all saddened and deeply shocked by the events in Paris last Friday, and the fact it was an attack on people enjoying their everyday freedoms like going to a bar, a concert or a football match resonates with football fans and the general public throughout the UK."

Premier League clubs will also liaise with local police to deliver extra security measures at matches this weekend due to the ''heightened sense of awareness'' after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Although the 'severe' threat level remains unchanged, the clubs are up to speed with the latest security advice.

Scudamore added: ''The clubs have been fully briefed in context of the current guidance from national security services and are liaising with their local police forces to ensure the appropriate security and safety measures are in place for their matches and stadiums.''

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who was in Paris on Friday night, admitted he was stunned by the violent events in his home country.

"I was more in shock than fearful," Wenger, whose Arsenal side travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, said.

''You could be scared because it was four different places attacked. You don't feel secure anywhere.

''Everybody who was in Paris on Friday night was in shock. France is like England - a tolerant and generous country. You have a bit more of a question of security, because it looks like it's not the end of it.''

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny was involved in France's game against Germany on the night of the attacks in Paris and also played against England at Wembley.

But Wenger has hinted he may not be ready to feature against the Baggies this weekend.

''You could see that on Tuesday night he was not himself,'' Wenger added. ''It affected him deeply and I didn't recognise the player I saw on Friday night on Tuesday night.

''I will talk with him. What I will want from him is that he's completely committed and feels ready. If not, I will not play him.''

Koscielny is among 72 French players currently in the Premier League which makes France the second-most represented nation after England.

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