PSG coach regrets his comments about his team’s “sand yacht” trips

PSG coach regrets his comments about his team's "sand yacht" trips

Faced with a certain media urgency, the coach of Paris-Saint-Germain, Christophe Galtier, tried, on Tuesday, September 6, to quell the controversy raised the day before by his statements on the subject of the climate. At the end of the Champions League match won against Juventus, the Parisian coach made his mea culpa before the Canal+ microphone:

“Believe me, I am concerned about climate problems, about our planet, I know the responsibility we have. (…) We are not on the surface, we are very lucid, it is just a joke that comes at the wrong time, that is in bad taste, and I regret it. »

On Monday, Christophe Galtier and Parisian striker Kylian Mbappé were asked at a press conference about the possibility of using the train, which is more ecological than a private plane, after the team’s trip to Nantes. “This morning we discussed with the company with which we traveled to find out if we could not travel on a sand yacht”Christophe Galtier replied ironically, just after a giggle from Kylian Mbappé.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers “The world of football must develop an eco-responsible awareness with long-term goals”

Greenpeace’s “climate red card”

The sequence immediately went viral, unleashing a media and political tornado after a summer marked by three heat waves and repeated fires.

“I think it’s important that they [les footballeurs] realize what world we are in, realize that there is a climate crisis that is no longer a hypothesis for tomorrow but is a reality now”declared in particular the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne.

“I really invite PSG to take this issue very seriously, because the French would not understand that some consider themselves above global warming”criticized the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Football: the grass of Ligue 1 is greener than that of the clubs

In the evening, just before the Champions League match, Greenpeace deployed a sand yacht and banners very close to the Parc des Princes to award a “climate red card” in the club. The head of the environmental NGO called on Mbappé to put his “aura around the world” at the service of “struggle” against the climate crisis.

Greenpeace activists with a sand yacht and banners around the Parc des Princes to raise awareness of the climate problem, before the Champions League match between PSG and Juventus, in Paris, on September 6, 2022.

Discussions between PSG and SNCF

Faced with the mea culpa of his coach, PSG had taken the trouble to indicate that he was studying “all the possibilities to travel to the club’s away games, about twenty-five per season”. Talks are also underway with SNCF.

According to PSG, the priority remains “safety, respect for public order, logistical issues and the environment”but the club said he had traveled to Lille by bus and planned to do so again “when it is possible”for Troyes, Reims, Auxerre and Lens.

For his trip to Nantes on Friday, the club highlighted the late hour and the inability to secure the return by train to justify his choice of plane.

“We make to measure”responded a spokesman for TGV-Intercités, whose general manager, Alain Krakovitch, had launched the controversy on Sunday. by offering his services to PSG in a message on Twitter. With limits: SNCF recognizes that late returns can be a problem, lines often close at night for work.

The SNCF offers the privatization of complete trains, which can do a lot for a single team (500 seats on a TGV), or of one or two first class carriages. A major challenge concerns security: how to manage the likely crowds of fans waiting for PSG stars at a Parisian station? The railway company replies that it can guarantee security thanks to Suge (SNCF security), possibly with the help of the club’s security service.

Also read: The NBA takes a step to reduce its carbon footprint

“If it’s better for the planet, we’ll do it”

“The club is arguing, let those who take care of it do itBrazilian defender PSG Marquinhos said Tuesday night. We don’t have to worry, if it’s for the sake of ecology, we’ve already taken the train, in Japan, in the national team as well. If it’s better for the planet, we’ll do it. »

The SNCF already claims to transport several rugby teams – and will be responsible for transporting most of the teams that compete during the 2023 World Cup – but its notoriety is not at the level of that of PSG. The women’s and men’s L1 soccer teams also use its services, it says, without specifying which ones.

Also read: The most frequent private jet trips in France and the (much less polluting) alternatives by train or car

According to a study of the Ligue de football professionnel (LFP), over the ensemble of matches of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 of the season 2019-2020, 65% of the suits of the teams took place by plane, 31% by bus and 4 % by train.

In the main foreign championships, in Italy, Spain and Germany, the use of the train is not uncommon. In England, with seven clubs in London -more than a third of the championship-, the trips are shorter, and even the clubs from Manchester or Liverpool do not hesitate to charter trains to go to the capital. In October 2021, however, Manchester United had been immobilized for having taken the plane to Leicester, 160 km by road, a flight of… ten minutes.

Also read: Celebrity private jets: behind the pollution complaint, the growing success of “flight tracking”

The world with AFP


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