Stade de Reims 2-1 FC Metz (partially found footage of French Division 1 football match; 1956)

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One of the television cameras capturing the action on the pitch.

Status: Partially Found

On 29th December 1956, Stade de Reims hosted FC Metz for a French Division 1 football match at the Auguste-Delaune Stadium. The encounter is notable for being the first league match to be televised live in France.


Heading into the match, Stade de Reims was lying in third in the French Division 1 and battling for the title.[1][2] During this time period, the club was one of the biggest in Europe, having narrowly missed out on winning the first European Cup after losing the Final 4-3 to Real Madrid on 13th June 1956.[3][4] By contrast, FC Metz was struggling, and were bottom out of 18 clubs after winning just two games, therefore facing the looming threat of relegation to Division 2.[1][4][2]

Meanwhile, RTF was seeking to broadcast league football on television.[1][4] It had previously broadcast the 1952 Coupe de France Final between OGC Nice defeat FC Girondins de Bordeaux live on 4th May 1952. Initially, it faced resistance from both the French Football Federation and the Groupement des Clubs Autorisés, who were concerned that televising league matches would reduce stadium attendance.[1] However, a 45-minute taped broadcast of France's 6-3 win over Belgium on 11th November 1956 convinced both authorities over the viability of football matches being aired on the platform.[1] Thus, RTF received special permission to broadcast a Division 1 match live for the first time.[1][4] It decided on on the upcoming Stade de Reims-FC Metz game that was initially set to be held on 30th December.[1][4] Both clubs agreed to this, although second place RC Lens notably objected to it.[1] Nevertheless, coverage was allowed to take place, although it occurred a day in advance so it did not compete with the other matches scheduled for Sunday afternoon.[1]

The Match

The match therefore occurred on 29th December 1956.[1] Despite Reims being the favourites heading in, it was the visitors who took the lead thanks to a goal from Andre Hess during the opening stages of the second-half.[5][4] However, Reims' Michel Hidalgo secured an equaliser via a header.[4][5] Ultimately, the hosts won the match courtesy of a goal from René Bliard.[4][5] Reims would remain in third with 43 points following the season's conclusion, finishing six points behind champions AS Saint-Etienne.[2] Meanwhile, Metz narrowly avoided relegation, finishing 15th on 28 points, one ahead of Stade Rennais.[2]


Ultimately, the match was televised live in an era where telerecordings were rare until videotape was perfected in the late-1950s.[6] The broadcast has yet to resurface, although some silent footage of the encounter can be found on INA.[5]



See Also