English soccer clubs in the country’s top league will play the French national anthem before the start of weekend fixtures on Saturday and Sunday, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore told the BBC Thursday. Scudamore described the gesture as an act of "solidarity and remembrance" after the Paris attacks in which 129 people died and more than 350 were injured.
"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," noted Scudamore, who also said the choral version of the song will be played after the coin toss, with both sets of players coming together in the center circle.
The song was sung by both sets of fans at a packed Wembley Stadium in London ahead of England’s win over France Tuesday.
— The Irish Times (@IrishTimes) November 19, 2015
Chelsea football club announced Thursday that its players will wear black armbands incorporating the French flag out of respect to those that lost their lives.
Along with Chelsea’s game against Norwich in the capital, Tottenham Hotspur will play fellow London team West Ham United while Crystal Palace take on Sunderland in South London Monday evening.
There are currently 72 French players in the league.
Security will be tight at all stadiums, with Premier League officials saying the current threat of a possible terror attack is significant. A suicide bomber targeted France’s soccer match game with Germany at the Stade de France in northern Paris Friday, but was unable to gain access after security discovered the explosive vest. As the bomber backed away from security, he detonated the device.
Further attacks took place at locations in central Paris. Heavily armed terrorists were able to access the Bataclan concert hall where they shot dead 89 audience members before SWAT teams stormed the venue and killed the suspects.