French Football Clubs Pay Tribute to Fallen with ‘Bleuet’ Patches

Football clubs in France paid tribute to the country’s veterans and fallen soldiers over the weekend with a special patch on their jerseys.

Clubs throughout the top two tiers of French football, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, wore special Bleuet de France patches in games between Nov. 5 and 7. The bleuet, or cornflower, is the French equivalent of the poppy used throughout the British Commonwealth: a symbol signifying remembrance and respect for war veterans and those who gave their lives in combat.

Clubs had the option of wearing the patch either on the right sleeve, near the Ligue 1 patch, or in the middle of the chest.

Players from Olympique Marseille (in white) and FC Metz (in maroon) wear the bleuet patch mid-chest in their Ligue 1 match on Sunday, Nov. 7. (Photo courtesy DAZN)
AS Monaco players (in black) wore bleuet patches on their sleeves while Stade de Reims players wore them on their chests during their Ligue 1 match on Sunday, Nov. 7. (Photo courtesy DAZN)
Both Montpellier Hérault SC (in white) and OGC Nice (in black and red) wore bleuet patches on their sleeves during their Ligue 1 match on Sunday, Nov. 7. (Photo courtesy @ogcnice_eng / Twitter)

It is also expected that the French national team will wear bleuet patches at some point over the current international break. They play World Cup qualifying matches against Kazakhstan on Saturday, Nov. 13, and against Finland on Tuesday, Nov. 16.

In November 2019, the national team wore white armbands with bleuet logos during a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying match against Moldova.

France forward Kylian Mbappé nurses a shoulder injury in a Euro 2020 qualifying match against Moldova in November 2019. The Bleuet de France logo is visible on his armband. (Photo courtesy Footy Headlines)

According to Wikipedia, like the poppy, cornflowers continued to grow on land damaged during fighting in the First World War. The term “bleuets” also referred to conscripted French soldiers in 1915, many of whom were in their early 20s. The light blue uniforms these young men wore set them apart from more seasoned French soldiers, who wore darker blue coats and red pants.

Various versions of bleuet badges have been produced since 1916 for dignitaries and the public to buy and wear leading up to Remembrance Day and VE Day (May 8). Today, proceeds from bleuet badge sales benefit L’Office national des anciens combattants et victimes de guerre.

Different versions of the Bleuet de France badge from the mid-2010s. (Photos courtesy Wikipedia)
A French war veteran whose legs were amputated sells bleuet badges on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in July 1919. (Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Feature photo courtesy Footy Headlines