KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- When it comes to multi-tasking in football, few personalities can compare with Laura Georges.
The 32-year-old French international is new secretary-general of the national football federation, a member of the Paris 2024 Olympic bid athletes’ committee . . . and plays for Paris Saint-Germain in Thursday’s UEFA Women Champions League Final against Olympique Lyonnais.
Georges has proved an outstanding leader on the pitch and is now working her way towards high-visibility roles in her new career off it.
Statistics tell their own tale. Since 2001 she has played a record 164 times for France, scoring six goals, during which time she also graduated in communications from Boston in the United States.
In playing terms, adding spice to Thursday’s European showdown at Cardiff City, she won two Champions Leagues and six French titles in half a dozen years with Lyon sandwiched between her early and current spells with PSG.
Scores to settle
Two years ago Georges and PSG lost the Champions League final against FFC Frankfurt. Last year Lyon won a third title against Wolfsburg. They will be favourites against PSG but Georges and her team-mates have an extra incentive to turn the tables.
PSG lost to Lyon on penalties in the French cup final and finished third in the league so they must win this one to return to European competition next term.
That would be no mean feat: Lyon are 15-times winners of the Championnat de France de football feminine.
Georges said: “It’s always special to play against this team but for a European title, it’s a lot – especially as we won’t play the European Cup again if we don’t win this Champions League. There is a lot to play for.”
Reviewing the wider picture, Georges was confident about the direction of women’s football in France, with prospects she views as enhanced from her ambassadorial role in the capital’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics.
The Parc de Princes – PSG’s headquarters – would be a central football venue if host rights should be awarded to Paris ahead of Los Angeles by the International Olympic Committee in Lima in September.
Georges said: “It’s always important when we organise events but especially when there is women’s sport going on, it shines a light on it, not only during competition but in terms of development over the long term.”
She thought that, in France, women faced more hurdles than in other countries in promoting their sporting ambitions.
Georges said: “[Gender balance in Olympics] is important, because it is encouraging women to participate in football and other different types of sports. Some may think: ‘This sport is only for men – this sport is only for women’ but when they see it close at hand, when it’s at home, they think: ‘Yes, I too can do this’.
“When the Olympics is in another country we don’t think about it so much but when it’s at home we pay more attention.
“I know that, if Paris were to stage the Olympics, it would make women more confident [in sport]. We would have seven years to prepare so they could think: ‘OK I want to be involved’.”
In the meantime, Laura Georges’s entire personal focus is on a very short-term goal – against her old club in the Champions League Final in Cardiff on Thursday.