Football is the number 1 sport in France!


May 1, 1904

 The France team made its official debut in a friendly against Belgium, at the Vivier d'Oie stadium in Uccle in front of 1,500 people. Refereed by the Englishman John Keene, the match ended in a draw (3-3). The Blues, dressed in white, Louis Mesnier, Marius Royet and Gaston Cyprès respond to the double of Georges Quéritet and the goal of Pierre-Joseph Destrebecq.




January 15, 1917

 The Coupe de France was created by the French Interfederal Committee (CFI) on the initiative of its Secretary General Henri Delaunay. It thus honours the memory of Charles Simon, founder of the CFI who fell in the field of honour in 1915, whose event takes its name. For its first edition, it pits 48 teams against each other and is now the largest football competition in the world uniting amateurs and professionals.

In 1967, the France Cup was celebrated on the fiftieth anniversary of its creation. Ten years later, a commemorative stamp illustrated his sixtieth birthday, recalling his humble beginnings with only forty-eight clubs involved! Today, the centenary of its creation is part of the memorial activity of the Great War, which sheds more light on the direct and strong link that exists between this national competition and the world conflict. Because it is no coincidence that this cup was born in 1917, twenty-five years after the foundation of the first French club in Le Havre. This is highlighted by the magazine Les Lectures pour tous, owned by the Hachette company, responsible for supporting this competition and which headlined in February 1917: "What the war has done for sport". In a state at war, physical instruction is essential for more than one reason, to train conscripts but also to allow the wounded to regain functional autonomy, as shown by the new missions of the Joinville school. Published in 1917, the Practical Guide to Physical Education recommends developing the taste and practice of sports games.

Thus, sport offers the double advantage of providing a derivative before joining the front, while preparing for it. Facilitated by the war of position, the practice of football has become democratized in contact with insiders and allies, including the Tommies. Football was the sport-king of the Poilus, a weapon in the service of victory during the "Great Match", according to the consecrated warrior metaphor. The invention of the Coupe de France is linked to both the Great War and the small war of associations. Divided before the conflict and shared between several competing omnisports federations, French football has unified around this competition by empowering its national authorities. The Coupe de France football was created in tribute to Charles Simon, founding president of the French Interfederal Committee (CFI), who "died for the France" on 15 June 1915. Initially called "Charles Simon Cup" because of the occupation of the northern departments, it took its national title after the liberation of the entire territory. On the model of the FA Cup, created in 1871, it is a knockout competition, which is not reserved for professionals only and offers teams from smaller divisions the opportunity to achieve glory. Thus, in the last twenty-five years, nearly twenty clubs have managed to reach at least the quarter-finals, such as Granville, "little thumb" of the 2015-2016 season. By brandishing the trophy above their heads, the successive winners of the Coupe de France contribute in their own way and probably unconsciously to the tribute to the Poilus.


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