Paris, May 1968: “Football to the footballers!”

“This explosion was provoked by groups in revolt against modern consumer and technical society, whether it be the communism of the East or the capitalism of the West.”  — President Charles De Gaulle, a televised speech of June 7th, 1968

Paris may 1968In the insurgent Paris of May 1968 when millions of workers were on strike, students had occupied the universities, teachers and youth built up barricades, and President De Gaulle had fled the country which seemed on the verge of revolution– footballers were not to be left out. They occupied the headquarters of the French Football Federation for six days and issued the following communiqué:

“We footballers belonging to the various clubs in the Paris region have today decided to occupy the headquarters of the French Football Federation. Just like the workers are occupying their factories, and the students occupying their faculties. Why?

Football to the footballersIN ORDER TO GIVE BACK TO THE 600,000 FRENCH FOOTBALLERS AND TO THEIR THOUSANDS OF FRIENDS WHAT BELONGS TO THEM: FOOTBALL. WHICH THE PONTIFFS OF THE FEDERATION HAVE EXPROPRIATED FROM THEM IN ORDER TO SERVE THEIR EGOTISTICAL INTERESTS AS SPORTS PROFITEERS…
…Now it’s up to you: footballers, trainers, managers of small clubs, countless friends and fans of football, students and workers – to preserve the quality of your sport by joining us to…
DEMAND THE IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL (by means of a referendum of the 600,000 footballers, controlled by themselves) of the profiteers of football and the insulters of the footballers.
FREE FOOTBALL FROM THE TUTELAGE OF THE MONEY OF THE PATHETIC PRETEND-PATRONS who are at the root of the decay of football.
 And demand from the state the SUBSIDIES that it accords to all other sports, and which the pontiffs of the Federation have never claimed.
So that football may remain yours, we call on you to MAKE YOUR WAY WITHOUT DELAY to the headquarters of the Federation which has again become YOUR HOUSE, at 60 Avenue d’Iena, Paris.
United, we will make football once again what it ought never to have ceased to be – the sport of joy, the sport of the world of tomorrow which all the workers have started building…”

– Footballer’s Action Committee

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