Local derbies in France

Local Derbies In France

Local derbies in France

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In many countries the term local derby, or simply just derby (pronounced 'dar-bee' after the English town) means a sporting fixture between two (generally local) rivals, particularly in Association Football. In North America, crosstown rivalry is a more common term.

Although there are no strict rules, derby games in France are commonly divided into three categories - derbies, local derbies and classicos (originally a Spanish expression, incorrectly spelled with two s in French).

A derby is a game involving two teams from the same city, a local derby would involve two teams from two neighbouring cities and a classico involves two teams from two cities quite far apart geographically which have developed a great rivalry along the years - such as PSG and Marseille in football for example.

Proper derbies are extremely rare in France, due mainly to political reasons. On the other hand local derbies, also called regional derbies, are very common all over the country. Classicos are a bit different as there usually is only one in each sport.


Proper derbies are extremely rare in France, especially in football. There are two main reasons for this.

Before WW2 derbies were quite common but they disappeared when new national leagues were artificially created - by the Vichy regime - involving only one team from each region. This fateful decision caused a lot of clubs to merge or temporarily disappear and even though some clubs were relaunched after the war the damage had already...
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