Faced with a certain media urgency, the coach of Paris-Saint-Germain, Christophe Galtier, tried, on Tuesday 6 September, to extinguish the controversy raised the day before by his speeches on the climate issue. At the end of the Champions League match won against Juventus, the Parisian coach made his mea culpa on the microphone of Canal +:
“Believe me, I am worried about the climate problems, of our planet, I know the responsibilities we have. (…) We are not above the ground, we are very lucid, it is just a joke that comes at the wrong time, which is in bad taste, and I regret it. “
On Monday, Christophe Galtier and Parisian striker Kylian Mbappé were questioned at a press conference about the possibility of using the train, which is more environmentally friendly than a private plane, after the team’s trip to Nantes. “This morning we discussed with the company we travel with to find out if we could not travel with the sand yacht”Christophe Galtier answered ironically, immediately after a chuckle from Kylian Mbappé.
Greenpeace’s “red card for the climate”
The sequence immediately went viral, unleashing a media and political tornado on a topic that has become ultra-sensitive after a summer marked by three heat waves and repeated fires.
“I think it’s important that them [les footballeurs] they realize what world we are in, they realize that there is a climate crisis which is no longer a hypothesis for tomorrow but which is a reality now “stated in particular the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne.
“I really urge PSG to take this topic very seriously, because the French would not understand that some consider themselves above global warming”criticized the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
In the evening, just before the Champions League match, Greenpeace deployed a yacht of sand and banners very close to the Parc des Princes to award a “climate red card” to the club. The boss of the ecological NGO has invited Mbappé to put his “aura in the world” at the service of “fight” against the climate crisis.
Discussions between PSG and SNCF
Before his coach’s mea culpa, PSG had bothered to indicate that he was studying “all the travel possibilities for the club’s away matches, about twenty-five per season”. Discussions are also underway with the SNCF.
According to the PSG, the priority remains “safety, respect for public order, logistical and environmental issues”but the club said they traveled to Lille by bus and wanted to do it again “When possible”for Troyes, Reims, Auxerre and Lens.
For his trip to Nantes on Friday, the club highlighted the late hour and the impossibility of guaranteeing the return by train to justify the choice of the plane.
“We make to measure”replied a spokesman for the TGV-Intercités, whose general manager, Alain Krakovitch, had launched the controversy on Sunday, offering his services to PSG in a Twitter message. With limitations: the SNCF recognizes that return delays can be a problem, lines are often closed at night for work.
The SNCF proposes the privatization of entire trains – which can do a lot for a single team (500 seats in a TGV) – or of one or two coaches of 1time class. A big challenge concerns safety: how to manage the probable crowds of fans waiting for the PSG stars in a Parisian station? The railway company replies that it can guarantee safety thanks to the Suge (SNCF safety), possibly helped by the club’s safety service.
“If it’s better for the planet, we’ll do it”
The club is arguing, whoever is in charge of it doesBrazilian defender PSG Marquinhos said Tuesday evening. We must not worry, if it is for the sake of ecology, we have already taken the train, in Japan, also in selection. 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 competing selections during the 2023 World Cup – but their notoriety is not on par with that of PSG. The women’s and men’s L1 soccer teams also use his services, he says, without specifying which ones.
According to a study by the Professional Football League (LFP), of all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches in the 2019-2020 season, 65% of the teams’ travel was by plane, 31% by bus and 4% by bus. 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 league – journeys are shorter, and even clubs in Manchester or Liverpool don’t hesitate to hire trains to get to the capital. In October 2021, however, Manchester United had been blocked for having taken the plane to Leicester, 160 km of road, a flight of … ten minutes.