Irish football fans receive Medal of Paris for 'sportsmanship'
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The Medal of the City of Paris was presented to Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland fans Thursday evening by Mayor Anne Hidalgo for their “exemplary behaviour and sportsmanship” during Euro 2016.
The mayor presented the award to much fanfare at a pavilion close to the Eiffel Tower fanzone in the French capital, just before France beat Germany in the Euro 2016 semi-final 2-0.
“Thanks to Irish fans, we’ve seen extraordinary things,” the mayor said, according to The Irish Times. “We’ve seen love songs in the streets! We’ve seen baby songs in the metro! We’ve seen policemen singing with the Green Army!”
In a letter to Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster, the Mayor of Paris said, “Northern Ireland supporters showed us all, to our great benefit, what supporting a country and a sport truly means.”
Jamie Monaghan, the severely disabled 17-year-old chosen by the Football Association of Ireland to represent Irish supporters, was given souvenirs and received special attention from the mayor.
Both teams’ supporters have won praise from all sides for their joyful and friendly behaviour during the tournament, which has been widely documented in YouTube videos that quickly went viral.
Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland enjoyed a remarkable run at Euro 2016, eventually losing to France and Wales respectively in the knockout stages.
Euro 2016 has been largely incident-free since violent clashes marred an early group game between England and Russia in Marseille early in the tournament.