Gabriel Hanot: The visionary journalist

Sep 7, 2020

Life Stories

Gabriel Hanot


Gabriel Hanot was born in Arras, northern France in 1889. He played for Tourcoing FC and was soon recognised as an outstanding full-back. Before the First World War he also played for two years in Germany. He first played for the France national team, against Switzerland, aged 18. Hanot played 12 times for France, the last as captain, against Belgium in 1919. He would have won more caps but for the First World War, in which he distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and by escaping from a German prison camp.

The Journalist

Gabriel Hanot’s playing career ended prematurely, at the age of 29, when he was injured in a plane crash. He became a journalist with L’Auto and Le Miroir des Sports. Gabriel Hanot was a man of vision. He strongly supported women’s football in France in the early 1920s. Most historians agree that the introduction of professional football in France in 1932 was due above all to Hanot. From 1945 to 1949, he was coach of France’s national team.

European Legacy

As a journalist, Gabriel Hanot was a major influence on football in Europe. With Jacques Ferran, his colleague at L’Equipe, Hanot developed the idea of the European Cup, a tournament for all champion teams across Europe, which later became the Champions League. He also invented the Ballon d’Or awards. He died in 1968, aged 78.

Thinking points

Gabriel Hanot had an impactful life in French football, including as an international player and captain as well as in the promotion of women’s football, professionalisation of the game, journalism and development. Yet there are few memorials to Hanot in France: no statues, no stadium or streets named after him.

Educators could look at the life story of Gabriel Hanot and work with young people to consider these questions:

  1. What may be the reasons why football culture, in France or Europe, seems to not honor his life, as much as it does players?
  2. How does Hanot’s story show the role of journalism and media in the development of football?

Find out more

Find out more about Gabriel Hanot, his legacy and character on The Guardian. French journalist Phillipe Auclair wrote about Hanot’s role in calling for his own sacking on The Blizzard.


Gabriel Hanot in 1919 (Photo: National Library of France / Public Domain)

Gabriel Hanot in 1919 (Photo: National Library of France / Public Domain).

Life Story

Player who set out a path for the development of football.


Article Tags:   pioneers  |   politics  |   remembrance

LIFE STORIES  To discover now

Gottfried Fuchs: The One who got away

Gottfried Fuchs: The One who got away

Gottfried Fuchs was a powerful centre-forward and a goalscoring machine. his career was interrupted by war, twice. He emigrated to Canada never to return. His story is one migration.

Do you wanna know more?



Browse our collection of stories about football history and inclusion. With the history of football being made up of millions of stories, of individuals and communities, of movements and processes, we offer stories that can inspire our cultural conversations today.


Get to know untold stories where individuals are making history with football. When faced with insurmountable challenges, individuals past and present can use football as a cultural force to foster positive change in society. We honour these individuals and tell their ‘untold’ stories in short videos.

Educational Resources

Explore our innovative educational resources that use football’s history, heritage and legacy to engage young people. The resources include ready-made lesson plans and historical source collections for school history education as well as toolkit with activities for non-formal settings.

Trending Stories



In the wake of the 2015 migration peak, activists and volunteers across Europe have been involved in supporting refugees, sometimes with the simple act of offering space and friendship to participate in football through grassroots clubs to help newcomers integrate.

LATEST POST  You may also be interested in

Formation for Human Rights

Formation for Human Rights

A class of high school history students in Oslo was asked to create an ideal starting XI line-up based on Human Rights. Find out why and how it went.

Share This