France to Play England at Wembley Despite Paris Terror Attacks

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(CNN) — France’s football international against England at Wembley Stadium in London on Tuesday will go ahead as planned despite the Paris attacks which have left at least 129 people dead, including a relative of its midfielder Lassana Diarra.

The French Football Federation (FFF) and English Football Association (FA) both issued statements Saturday to confirm the match would be played.

There had been reports that it would be canceled in the aftermath of Friday’s events which saw an area close to the Stade de France targeted while France played world champion Germany in a friendly international.

Explosions, which eventually claimed the lives of four people, could clearly be heard in the stadium although the match, won 2-0 by France, did continue to the final whistle.

It later emerged that Diarra, who played in the match, lost a relative — a female cousin — during the attacks.

Marseille midfielder Diarra made the revelation on his official Twitter account, signing off with the hashtag #prayforpeace.

Another French player, Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann, also tweeted that his sister had survived the attack at the Bataclan Theatre, where more than 80 people were killed.

“Thank God my sister was able to get out of the Bataclan alive. All my prayers go out to the victims and their families. #LongliveFrance,” he tweeted.

A stunned German team spent the night inside its locker room at the Stade de France as a security precaution before returning to Frankfurt early Saturday morning.

Its coach Joachim Loew admitted his players were already unsettled following an earlier bomb scare at the team’s hotel in Paris.

French President Francois Hollande, who was one of the 80,000 spectators at the prestigious friendly, had to be evacuated from the stadium after being updated on the situation across the capital.

Fans were also allowed on to the pitch while the security situation was being assessed by the authorities, with the bemused players watching from the tunnel.

The English FA statement said its decision to proceed with the fixture Tuesday had been made after consultation with its French counterparts.

“First and foremost we passed on our deepest condolences to those involved in these truly awful incidents,” it said.

“The thoughts of everyone at The FA, our manager Roy Hodgson, his players and our supporters are with the French nation.

“During the conversation the (FFF) made it clear that they still wish to play against us on Tuesday night at Wembley Stadium.

“In solidarity with the FFF we fully respect and support this decision for the fixture to go ahead.”

FA chairman Greg Dyke added: “We will discuss how to appropriately mark the tragic incidents at Tuesday’s fixture. We are sure that all England supporters will join us in showing our full support to our friends from across the channel.”

FFF president Noel Le Graet said in a statement: “The French Football Federation shares the emotion that shakes the nation following the tragic events of Friday in Paris and around the Stade de France. The FFF shares the grief of the bereaved families and relatives.”

European governing body UEFA said Saturday that teams taking part in its competitions over the next few days, including Euro 2016 playoff matches, will wear black armbands and observe a minute’s silence.

“UEFA is deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic events which occurred in Paris last night and wishes to express its support and solidarity to France and to those affected by these horrible acts,” it said.

Leading football players such as Barcelona star Lionel Messi and former French international Thierry Henry took to social media to express their horror at the attacks and solidarity with those affected.

Tributes were also paid at high profile matches Saturday that did go ahead, with players linking arms and standing in a minute’s silence at a big charity match at Manchester United’s OId Trafford ground organized by its former star David Beckham, who also played for Paris Saint Germain.

But former French stars Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira, who were due to play for a Rest of the World XI, did not turn out.

All scheduled matches in the French Cup this weekend were called off, while European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup rugby fixtures due to be played in France were postponed.

IOC president Thomas Bach later condemned “barbaric and cowardly acts.”

He said: “This is not only an attack on the people of France and Paris, this is an attack on humanity and all humanitarian and Olympic values.

“In these dark times, we should remember the unifying power of sport to unite people and communities and to bring peace and reconciliation. Today all people of goodwill will say: We are all French.”