Support pours in for striking journos at France's historic L'Equipe newspaper
Over a hundred elite athletes have signed an open letter in support of journalists at French daily sports newspaper L'Equipe, which has stopped publication due to a strike, now entering its second week.
The journalists are striking against a plan to cut 50 out of 350 jobs from the group, which includes L'Equipe, its weekly magazine, Velo News and France Football, which is going to go from being a weekly to a monthly publication.
The group says it anticipates losses of six million euros in 2021 and its plan would save five million euros.
The strike comes on the heels of a disastrous year for sports and sports media as the coronavirus drags on, keeping teams off the pitch and spectators out of the stadiums.
"In recent months we have realised how essential sport is to our daily lives. For the past week we have also realised that sport is missing L'Equipe," French Sports Minister, Roxana Maracineanu, a former Olympic medallist, tweeted on Friday.
"Come back soon, make us experience sport, all sports, again, and continue to report for us, to report on me," wrote the 180 athletes in a letter published on Friday.
"Come back soon," wrote the Nouvelle République on its Twitter feed, with a link to the letter.
The group included an array of international stars, some active, some retired, including NBA center Rudy Gobert, Olympic gold medallists Marie-Jose Perec and Renaud Lavillenie, Roland Garros winner Yannick Noah, former UEFA president and France captain Michel Platini and Formula One champion Alain Prost as well as American former Tour de France champion Greg Lemond and Brazil centre back Dante.
"For years now, we've been rubbing shoulders, we've been talking by the side of the pitches, roads, swimming pools, gymnasiums, tracks," said the letter.
"Years of exchanging ideas and sometimes even arguing over them."
In triumph and defeat
"By accompanying my first steps, my victories, my medals, you have been the link with my supporters, millions of sports enthusiasts. You did not hide my defeats, nor my doubts."
Veteran French tennis player Nicolas Mahut echoed the sentiments on Twitter, writing: "How many times did I cut out interviews with my idol Pete Sampras from L'Equipe and stick them to the wall of my bedroom in Poitiers so I could sleep next to them and motivate myself."
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