August 1 – While most French fans in Moscow were able to celebrate their team’s World Cup triumph, one supporter was apparently not so lucky after being detained allegedly for simply displaying a Tibetan flag.
According to reports in France, 53-year-old Hugues Picon (pictured with a Tibetan flag at France’s semi-final game) was arrested before the final ostensibly because of a problem with his Fan ID, the document required by all fans attending fixtures.
But it is now suggested the real reason was that he allegedly attempted to display a Tibetan flag inside the Luzhniki Stadium.
Picon was apparently sent to Tibet by Medecins Sans Frontieres a few years ago and is now campaigning for the recognition of the region by the United Nations.
But on the morning of the World Cup final, he was reportedly denied access to the stadium unlike his son and was unable to watch the game.
French reports claim Picon was handed over to Interpol, who took his fingerprints, before he was released. He later reported his case to the French embassy in Moscow.
“Wherever I go I take the Tibetan national flag. Tibet is always there in my heart,” he was quoted as saying on social media. “My son has a Tibetan name. I love football but I missed the game and I was so sad. I was released later … but I’m very proud of what I have done.”
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