Scottish Daily Mail

I’VE BEEN CRY­ING TEARS OF ANGER BUT WE HAVE TO GO ON. WE MUST

SAYS FOR­MER FRANCE STAR EM­MANUEL PE­TIT

- By PETE JENSON

EM­MANUEL PE­TIT, one of the icons of the united France team that won the World Cup in 1998 on home soil, re­vealed how he cried ‘tears of anger’ af­ter the ter­ror­ist out­rage in his home city of Paris.

Pe­tit lives in one of the neigh­bour­hoods tar­geted on Fri­day.

The for­mer Arse­nal star said: ‘I was sup­posed to go to the game but I changed my mind for per­sonal rea­sons. I live 10 min­utes away. There are still friends that we have not heard from, so it’s an anx­ious wait still for news.

‘I have lived in the same neigh­bour­hood for the last 20 years and dur­ing the week­end it is usu­ally a place that is full of life, but from Fri­day night there has been no one on the streets and ev­ery­thing is closed. It is like a war zone or a ghost city.

‘I was watch­ing the game and I heard the ex­plo­sions. I knew it was some­thing more pow­er­ful than just the usual fire­works. I sensed some­thing was wrong. Then my wife started re­ceiv­ing text mes­sages from friends ask­ing if we were OK be­cause peo­ple know we live close by. We put the news chan­nel on and started to see what was hap­pen­ing.

‘We have been at­tacked many times in France but usu­ally the at­tack is di­rected at politi­cians or jour­nal­ists. This is the first time the at­tack is on peo­ple just en­joy­ing them­selves. We are very, very sad in France but we are also very, very an­gry. I have been cry­ing watch­ing the scenes on tele­vi­sion but they are tears of anger.’

Pe­tit has urged foot­ball to con­tinue in de­fi­ance both tomorrow at Wem­b­ley and at next sum­mer’s Eu­ros in France, in­sist­ing the only way to re­spond to the hor­ror is with a life-af­firm­ing con­tin­u­a­tion of sport.

‘Of course we have to play the (Eng­land) game. We have to go on do­ing the things that we enjoy do­ing,’ he said.

‘The game has to go ahead even though no one can really fo­cus on the match it­self. It has to take place. Peo­ple have to go on liv­ing. We have to show them that: “It doesn’t mat­ter how many peo­ple you kill, we will al­ways be here in front of you and ready to fight against you. You are cow­ards”.

‘We have to show them that we will keep on do­ing what we do and we will stick to­gether.’

Pe­tit will be work­ing at next sum­mer’s Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships, hav­ing been a ma­jor part of the team — drawn from all eth­nic back­grounds in the coun­try — that won the 1998 World Cup in Paris. He backed the tour­na­ment and called for a greater unity to fight the threat, say­ing: ‘The Eu­ros in France must go ahead. I will be work­ing with tele­vi­sion dur­ing the tour­na­ment and I am nat­u­rally quite con­cerned about the se­cu­rity, but we all have to work to­gether shar­ing re­sources and shar­ing in­for­ma­tion all the time.

‘I think that is some­thing that is miss­ing. We need to be friend­lier with each other and more co-op­er­a­tive against th­ese peo­ple be­cause they want to kill hu­man­ity, so it doesn’t mat­ter what dif­fer­ences we may have among our­selves. We have to be united. We all need to work to­gether ahead of that tour­na­ment to make sure noth­ing can hap­pen.’

A cam­paigner against racism in foot­ball, Pe­tit also stressed that the anger peo­ple were feel­ing should not be di­rected at the wrong tar­gets.

‘Of course it is dif­fi­cult to put a face on the enemy be­cause they are shad­ows, but we have to guard against the rise of racism,’ he said.

He told Sports­mail that he had lis­tened to an in­ter­view with a young French boy of Arab de­scent who had been walk­ing near the sta­dium on Fri­day night. He now said he was afraid of two things — one of be­ing a vic­tim of an at­tack but also of how he would be treated by his fel­low French­men and women and what they will think of him.

‘We need to be in­tel­li­gent,’ said Pe­tit. ‘In­tel­li­gent and united.’

The DFB, Ger­man foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body, has con­firmed that tomorrow’s friendly fix­ture against the Nether­lands will also pro­ceed as orig­i­nally sched­uled.

Ger­many were forced to sleep in the Stade de France af­ter Fri­day’s 2-0 friendly de­feat by France, dur­ing which the at­tacks in Paris be­gan, but the DFB are de­ter­mined to play the fix­ture at Han­nover’s HDI-Arena, say­ing in a state­ment: ‘(In a) stance for free­dom and one against terror, (Ger­many) will play.’

Dr. Reinhard Rauball, the DFB’s vice-pres­i­dent, said: ‘The mes­sage is clear — we will not be in­tim­i­dated by terror. The fact that the game will go ahead just a few days af­ter the atro­cious events from the in­ter­na­tional in Paris is a nec­es­sary step.’

Team man­ager Oliver Bier­hoff added: ‘We wanted to set a stance of to­geth­er­ness as a team. With the French pop­u­la­tion, with all those con­nected to the vic­tims.

‘The whole team, play­ers, coaches and back­room staff — it’s still af­fect­ing them a lot.

‘They there­fore all know how im­por­tant it is to take a stance and cam­paign for our val­ues and cul­tures as a na­tional team.’

How­ever, the draw for the eighth round of the Coupe de France, which was sched­uled to take place at Paris’ Vin­cennes race­course on Tues­day, has been can­celled.

Con­fir­ma­tion of a new date and venue will be made as soon as pos­si­ble for the draw be­tween the 88 teams due to play on De­cem­ber 5 and 6.

We must show ter­ror­ists: ‘We will al­ways be ready to fight against you’

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