A strike by staff at L’Equipe, one of the world’s most famous sports daily newspaper has reached its eleventh day and has now received the backing of more than 180 athletes, including Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud.
Journalists are striking over a plan to cut 50 out of 350 jobs from the publishing company which also looks after weekly magazine, Velo News, and France Football.
In a show of solidarity, L’Equipe staff have not produced an edition for print or digital in what they have described as a ‘social movement’. Former Chelsea winger and former Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger are among athletes and other stakeholders that have backed the staff in their protest.
Vincent Duluc, a football reporter at L’Equipe, took to Twitter to reveal a list of almost 200 names of sports stars past and present who have backed those on strike.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, ex-Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, former France captain Michel Platini, Formula One legend Alain Prost and current NBA star Rudy Gobert are among those lending their support to the cause.
The open letter co-signed by the athletes read: ‘For years now, we’ve been rubbing shoulders, we’ve been talking by the side of the pitches, roads, swimming pools, gymnasiums, tracks.
‘Years of exchanging ideas and sometimes even arguing over them.’
‘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.
‘I confided in you, it was sometimes tense, but we always made up. We have never broken that bond. Except these last few days when, absent from the kiosks, mobile phones and tablets, you leave us destitute.’
Approaching two weeks off the newsstands the impact of the strike has been felt across the entire country.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, French Sports Minister, Roxana Maracineanu, a former Olympic medallist, said that ‘sport is missing L’Equipe’ as staff fight to protect their employment.