Legendary French Broadcaster Thierry Roland Passes Away
Broadcaster Thierry Roland, the "voice of french football on television," died Saturday at the age of 74 of a cerebrovascular accident, according to L'HUMANITE. During his nearly 60-year career, he worked 13 World Cups and nine Euro Championships (L'HUMANITE, 6/16). In N.Y., Michael Wiesenfeld wrote that Roland had an "incredible career with perhaps no equal in the history of sports journalism. He was for 59 years the one and only voice of football in France." Roland was a "simple, generous and passionate man." He was like a kid, "saying out loud what everyone was thinking." One of his most famous comments came in '76 while calling the France-Bulgaria match. After the referee awarded a penalty kick to the Bulgarians, he said, "Mr. Foote, you are a bastard!" His employer at the time wanted to suspend him, but they could not because of "the support of tens of thousands of French fans." For French people, across generations, he was "a member of everyone's family." Many French will tell you that following a national team match without Roland's voice "was not the same" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/17).
REACTIONS: UEFA President Michel Platini said, "It was the voice of football for millions of people and he was my friend." France national team coach Laurent Blanc spoke on behalf of the team and said, "We present our condolences to the family of Thierry Roland, a lover of the sport that disappears. It really touched us." French President Francois Hollande said, "The world of sports and football loses one of its most popular and fierce supporters" (LE FIGARO, 6/16).