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.
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.
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.
Feature photo courtesy Footy Headlines