The Ligue 1 schedule is set to be decimated this weekend, with six fixtures called off amid security concerns around the country due to social unrest.
Regional police forces have requested that the matches be postponed so that their resources are not stretched owing to anticipated action by a group of protestors who have been branded the ‘Gilet jaunes’ due to the yellow vests they have been wearing.
WHICH MATCHES HAVE BEEN POSTPONED?
Six Ligue 1 encounters have been called off. The first postponement came on Wednesday, when it was announced Paris Saint-Germain’s home match against Montpellier on Saturday afternoon would be pushed back. Toulouse’s encounter with Lyon followed later that day.
Four matches – Monaco vs Nice, Saint-Etienne vs Marseille, Angers vs Bordeaux and Nimes vs Nantes – followed on Thursday, while there is a suggestion the whole programme could be cancelled.
“I like things to happen logically,” Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said. “There’s going to be a change. Maybe all the matches should be postponed because we have to ask the question regarding equality.”
There have been no dates given when these encounters might be replayed, with the schedule packed between now and Christmas owing to European and Coupe de la Ligue commitments. As such, the likelihood is that the fixtures will not be played until 2019.
|Friday, December 7||Monaco vs Nice|
|Saturday, December 8||PSG vs Marseille|
|Saturday, December 8||Angers vs Bordeaux|
|Saturday, December 8||Nimes vs Nantes|
|Saturday, December 8||Toulouse vs Lyon|
|Sunday, December 9||Saint-Etienne vs Marseille|
WHAT ARE THE GILET JAUNES PROTESTING AGAINST?
Initially, the gilet jaunes movement were protesting against rising fuel taxes, with the fluorescent yellow vests symbolic as every motorist in France must by law carry one in their car.
However, the protest has become more broadly about social justice and against austerity measures.
The spokespeople of the movement have drawn up a list of demands that they have published publicly, which stretch across fields such as education, wages and inheritance taxes.
They have been visible in the stands at certain Ligue 1 matches, such as Lille’s trip to Amiens as early as September, though formal protests in the street only began on November 17.
Since then, these have grown increasingly violent, with an estimated €1.5 million (£1.3m/$1.7m) of damage caused in central Paris on November 26. A week later, there were more than 100 cars burned out in the capital and damage to property estimated at around €3-4m.
Two people, an 80-year-old woman in Marseille and a motorist in Arles, have been died as a result of accidents relating to the protests, which have taken place on a nationwide scale.
On December 4, the government backed down on the fuel tax, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe stating: “No tax deserves to endanger the unity of the nation.”