Controversy over private jets, beach sailors and climate change in France

PSG took a private jet for the 380 kilometers to the league game at FC Nantes on Sunday.

Controversy over private jets, beach sailors and climate change in France

PSG took a private jet for the 380 kilometers to the league game at FC Nantes on Sunday. At a press conference on Monday, trainer Christophe Galtier ironically commented on the criticism of the flight: "Together with our transport company, we are examining whether we will soon be able to use beach sailors." He triggered a fit of laughter from football star Kylian Mbappé, who was sitting next to him. A video of it caused outrage in online networks.

"Irony is out of place here. (...) We have to take climate change seriously," Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire told BFM on Tuesday. "You've answered more seriously and responsibly before," commented Minister of Sport Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and invited the coach to an interview via Twitter.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who is involved in the fight against climate change, was also outraged on Twitter: "Is it still okay to answer like that???? Do you ever wake up boys????"

Climate researcher Valérie Masson-Delmotte called on Mbappé to become a climate ambassador. "There are many scientists who would like to exchange ideas with footballers to share their knowledge and encourage them to act," said the IPCC expert on France Inter.

The dispute was triggered by a video of the player Marco Verratti, who had filmed the team on the plane. The boss of the TGV express trains responded by saying that there was a train connection between Paris and Nantes under two hours and that he would like to submit an offer for a reasonable transport of the crew.

In France, the proposal to legally restrict the use of private jets has been discussed for weeks. "We can think about taxation or regulation at national or European level," said Transport Minister Clément Beaune recently. "Those who pollute particularly badly and who are wealthy have to make a bigger contribution," he told the France2 broadcaster.

The Attac organization pointed out on Friday that PSG player Lionel Messi had caused CO2 emissions of around 1,500 tons with 52 flights in a private jet since June - "as much as a Frenchman causes in 150 years".

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