In Biarritz, the last “abrazo” to Aramburu, the former Argentinian rugby player shot dead

The funeral of Federico Martin Aramburu, the former rugby player shot dead in Paris, took place in Biarritz on Saturday.

More than 1,000 people, including big names in French and Argentine rugby, attended the funeral of Federico Martin Aramburu in Biarritz on Saturday for a “last hug” to this former player shot dead on March 19 in Paris, at 42. years.

At the end of a ceremony delivered in French and Spanish by a priest friend of the family and punctuated by Basque songs and songs on the acoustic guitar, several hundred people massed at the foot of the Sainte-Eugénie church, on the seafront, applauded the release of the coffin for a very long time.

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For more than an hour, under a big blue sky, they followed the celebration in respectful silence, on a giant screen installed in this square with a view of the ocean. Inside: the Aramburu family and the larger Basque-Franco-Argentinian rugby family, with Dimitri Yachvili, Jérôme Thion, Imanol Harinordoquy, Gonzalo Quesada and Lisandro Arbizu among others.

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The presidents of the French Federation Bernard Laporte and the League René Bouscatel were also in the spans, like Serge Blanco, former boss of the BO, to pay tribute to the ex-Puma (22 selections) twice crowned champion of France with the Biarritz Olympic (2005, 2006).

Previously, the coffin had entered the church carried by former teammates, the French internationals Thomas Lievremont and Nicolas Brusque, the Argentinian Manuel Carizza as well as Shaun Hegarty, the friend and associate with whom Aramburu was seated in the Parisian restaurant where the drama took place.

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“A man concerned with peace and revolted by injustice”

Behind the remains of the deceased, his wife Maria, clinging to the arms of her two daughters, Trinidad and Justina, followed, surrounded by a clan of Argentines, ex-players and friends, while the traditional Basque farewell song resounded ( “Agur Jauna”, “Farewell to the great man”).

Dressed in white, Maria read in Spanish a text that her husband “would have liked” to pass to the audience: “Don’t look solemn or sad. Keep laughing at what made us laugh together.”

A football club jersey from Estudiantes La Plata, Aramburu’s hometown, had been laid next to the coffin. Red and white, like the colors of the soundtrack

The mother of the deceased, Cecilia, stressed that her son defended “tolerance” and “difference” while the former Biarritz coach Roger Aguerre, a great friend of “Fédé”, launched a “last hug” to the one who was passionate about “wines, asado and friendship”.

The ceremony was celebrated in French and Spanish by Don Arnaud, a Biarritz priest friend of the family, who described Aramburu as “a man concerned with peace and revolted by injustice”.

For Omar Hasan, former pillar of the Pumas and player of the French championship, “Fédé was a generous person, with overflowing energy, always with a smile”.

As a player, “it wasn’t Jonah Lomu (former New Zealand star, editor’s note) but he had heart and, as they say, balls (sic). He was in the wrong place at the wrong time”, he regretted.

Argentina scarf around his neck, BO jersey on his back and Basque flag on his shoulders, Vincent remembers a “beautiful player”. “Not a technical monster but he did a lot with his Argentinian ‘grinta’ (competitiveness),” explained to AFP.

Two people charged

Since his retirement from sport, Aramburu, who had also worn the colors of San Isidro (Argentina), Perpignan, Dax and Glasgow (Scotland), lived with his family in the Basque Country and had founded a tourism and events company.

At the end of the afternoon, a moment of private meditation was to take place in a lounge at the BO stadium.

A minute of applause was to be dedicated to him during the Top 14 matches this weekend while the Biarritz players, who warmed up with a T-shirt bearing his image before their match in Montpellier on Saturday, had to wear a jersey with the message “Amigo para siempre” (Friend forever).

Aramburu was shot dead on March 19 in the early morning after an altercation in a bar-restaurant in the center of Paris, where he was to attend the France-England rugby match the same evening. He died on the spot as a result of his injuries.

Two militants from an ultra-right group are suspected of having shot him.

One was indicted for “assassination” and imprisoned and the other, the main suspect, must soon be handed over to the French authorities after being arrested this week in Hungary.

A young woman, suspected of “complicity in murder”, was also imprisoned.

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