Video: French President Macron Chugs Beer With Rugby Team

Video: French President Macron Chugs Beer With Rugby Team

Emmanuel Macron was filmed downing a bottle of beer with Toulouse’s rugby players.


French President Emmanuel Macron has created a brouhaha in France after being filmed downing a bottle of beer with Toulouse’s rugby players after they clinched the domestic league title at the weekend.

Video has emerged on French TV channels and on social media showing the president being handed a bottle of Corona in the Toulouse changing room after the end of the game at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday, which Macron watched from the VIP enclosure.

After being urged to down it in one, the 45-year-old drains the bottle in 17 seconds to cheers and whoops from the Toulouse coaching staff and players after their 29-26 victory over La Rochelle in the French Top 14 final.

“Toxic masculinity in political leadership in one image,” tweeted Sandrine Rousseau an MP for the Greens party.

“A president who is sharing in the joy of 23 players and taking part in their traditions. That’s all,” replied ruling party MP Jean-Rene Cazeneuve.

Emmanuel Macron is a keen sports fan and is well known for his locker-room visits to French sports teams.

In December, after Les Bleus lost the final of the football World Cup in Qatar, the former investment banker made an appearance in the team’s changing room to deliver an emotional post-game pep talk.

Like most French presidents, he is more frequently seen with wine in his hand, and he once claimed he drank a glass at lunch and another in the evening.

He has also given fervent backing to France’s famed wine industry, even blocking attempts by public health authorities to promote the “Dry January” concept — turning the first month of the year into four weeks of alcohol abstinence.

“The president has a responsibility as a role model in terms of setting a healthy example for behaviour,” Bernard Basset from the charity Association Addictions France told the BFM channel on Monday.

“In this case, he’s associating sport, parties and the consumption of alcohol in a context of virile peer-pressure where everyone drinks a bit too much,” he added.

“It’s inappropriate,” William Lowenstein, a doctor and addiction specialist, told the same channel. “You could do it, but not in front of the cameras.”

The images might help the ratings of a politician long criticised as out-of-touch with ordinary people, however.

His popularity slumped to a near-record low in March and April this year as he pushed through a highly unpopular hike in the retirement age and he was booed by sections of the crowd as he took to the pitch before the game on Saturday.

So low was his popularity that it was thought best he shake hands with the players of the French football Cup final in the corridor and not on the pitch.

Even though alcohol consumption has fallen in France in the last 50 years, around 49,000 deaths are caused by the intoxicant each year and excessive consumption is “one of principal causes of hospital admissions”, according to the health ministry.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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