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European football pays respects to Barcelona terror victims

PARIS

Top-tier football matches in France, Germany and Spain will be preceded by a minute’s silence at the weekend in a show of respect for victims of the terror attacks in Spain.

As condolences poured in from sports personalities across the globe following Thursday’s attacks that left 14 dead and over 100 injured, the French league (LFP) said all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 games would be preceded by a silent commemoration.

“In a gesture of respect and solidarity with the victims of the tragedy in Barcelona yesterday, the LFP has decided to observe a minute’s silence at all the matches,” the league said in a statement.

Earlier the Spanish football league said all 10 La Liga fixtures including Sunday’s Barcelona home game against Real Betis would start with a minute’s silence.

Players from both teams will wear black armbands and flags at the Camp Nou stadium will fly at half mast.

A van driver rammed into passers-by on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas boulevard on Thursday, creating a scene of carnage, and there was a separate attack in the nearby town of Cambrils.

In Germany, the football league said matches in the top two divisions would be preceded by a silent memorial.

Earlier Friday, Barcelona’s players held a minute’s silence before training, whilst the club published a picture of the players and coaching staff with the hashtag “TotsSomBarcelona” (“We are all Barcelona”) on its social media channels.

The Spanish League’s biggest stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were among sports personalities leading tributes to the victims of the attacks.

Club coach Ernesto Valverde, in a video posted on Barca’s Twitter feed, said: “We deeply lament the attack yesterday in Barcelona.

“From here we show our solidarity, our hearts are with the victims and their families in such a tough time and of course we are here to help with everything that is necessary.”

Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, now with Manchester City, said the Spanish city would “stand up” to terrorism.

“It happened in France, in London and unfortunately it happened in Barcelona,” said Guardiola.

“We don’t know, but Barcelona, we wake up and we show them what a beautiful country it is. Catalonia and Spain, all the best for the future.”

Elsewhere in England, a minute’s silence was observed Friday before the start of the second day’s play in the day/night cricket Test between England and the West Indies at Birmingham’s Edgbaston ground.

The players from both sides assembled on the outfield along with the officials, led by match referee and former Australia batsman David Boon, to stand together with a crowd of more than 20,000 in an impeccably observed minute’s silence as they paid tribute to the 14 dead and more than 100 injured in separate incidents in Barcelona and Cambrils.

In France, Spanish exile Unai Emery, who coaches Paris Saint-Germain, addressed “all my condolences to the Barcelona victims,” while Ligue 1’s other Spanish coach, Oscar Garcia of Saint Etienne, expressed “bottomless sorrow” at the Barcelona bloodshed.

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