January 17, 2020 / 9:44 AM / a month ago

Soccer-Aggrieved Reims send sarcastic greetings to French referees

PARIS, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Smarting at decisions this season they consider unfair, French Ligue 1 side Stade de Reims sent a sarcastic New Year’s greetings card to the referees’ body.

“Let’s make a common wish for a clean relationship and renewed mutual trust!” read the card, published via social media on Friday and full of word-plays in French.

“May 2020 be as sharp as (Amiens’) Arturo Calabresi’s elbowing of Moussa Doumbia ... as distinguished as (Monaco’s) Keita Balde’s handball before a double in the French Cup.”

Those were references to incidents in Reims’ 1-1 draw at Amiens in Ligue 1 on Wednesday and their 2-1 defeat to Monaco in a French Cup game earlier this month.

The referees’ body did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite being a relatively small club, Reims are a respectable eighth in the league. They face league leaders Paris St Germain in the League Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

Reims ended their card with the pun “Vivre le libre arbitre!”, which can be translated as “Long live free choice” or “long live the free referee”. In French culture, New Year’s greetings cards are sent up to the end of January. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne;)

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