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French sport will pay its respects to the Charlie Hebdo attack victims this weekend

A minute’s silence is set to be held around grounds of the country’s football, rugby, basketball and athletics clubs this weekend.

A MINUTE’S SILENCE will be observed ahead of all French football, rugby and basketball matches this weekend as the world of sport moved to honour the 12 victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.

The tribute was observed during the Ligue 1 match between Lille and Evian on Wednesday night followed by an emotional rendition of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, as players of both teams wore black armbands.

France’s professional football league said that a minute’s silence will also be observed at all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches this weekend.

“Following the terrible attack yesterday at Charlie Hebdo, the French Football Federation has decided to observe a minute’s silence on all pitches of the Hexagon (France) this weekend, during national, regional and district competitions,” the FFF said in a statement.

“The entire family of French football joins the general spirit of solidarity and affirms its support for the families of the victims,” the federation added.

French rugby’s governing body the FFR also asked that a minute’s silence be observed before all matches this weekend.

The FFR invites all players and the public to respect a minute’s silence … from school tournaments to professional matches, in Republican solidarity and in hommage to the victims of the attack on Charlie Hebdo.”

The French Basketball Federation (FFBB) also offered “its sincere condolences to the families of the victims of yesterday’s attack”.

FFBB president Jean-Pierre Siutat added: “The values of our sport and sport in general must contribute to the fight against all forms of barbarism and preserve the national unity we all need.”

Twelve people, including two policemen, were shot dead by heavily armed gunmen at the offices of the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo in central Paris on Wednesday morning.

Two men stormed the paper’s offices shouting Islamist slogans with witnesses hearing the attackers shout “we have avenged the prophet” and “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest).

Four people remain critically injured and the capital placed under the highest alert status following the attack, the country’s deadliest in decades.

“It’s the 9/11 of the press,” said Mourad Boudjellal, president of Toulouse Rugby Club.

“I’m more than dismayed, I’m stunned.”

French athletics federation president Bernard Amsalem called on “all French athletics to show solidarity with the victims and their families and to reaffirm the Republican and human values which are ours.”

 - © AFP, 2015

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