Putin flexes muscle for Russia players to sleep

sports Updated: Jun 12, 2016 09:30 IST

MARSEILLE: Russia have pulled out all the stops in their preparation for the European Championship, by asking president Vladimir Putin to help cancel a concert near their team hotel.

While the Stade de France in Paris rocked to the hits of superstar DJ David Guetta on Friday, Marseille’s fan zone — a venue with a capacity of 80,000 — was set to groove to the sounds of 70s disco legend Cerrone.

But when the Russian delegation realised how close the venue was to their hotel, panic set in.

Calls were made all the way to Russian premier Putin, who stepped in to make sure the national side were given a peaceful night’s sleep ahead of their Group B opener against the England at the Stade Velodrome.

The mayor of Marseille, Jean-Claude Gaudin, told AFP: “Since the Russian players even called Putin to make sure there wouldn’t be too much noise, we respected their request.”

City officials announced the cancellation shortly after 11pm on Friday.

“Given the proximity of the Marseille fan zone to the Russian team hotel, a decision has been taken to cancel the concert,” said a brief statement by Marseille city officials.

It confirmed the decision was taken “to allow Russia’s players to rest ahead of their opening game of Euro 2016 tomorrow (Saturday) against England at the Stade Velodrome. “Cerrone perfectly understands the situation, and has given assurances that he will return to Marseille to give a concert on July 10, the night of the final,” added the statement.

First Published: Jun 12, 2016 09:30 IST