Football: Folarin Balogun: “There are expectations, but I’m not afraid of that”

AS Monaco's Folarin Balogun alongside Thiago Scuro

Following his big-money move from Arsenal, Folarin Balogun has addressed the media for the first time as an AS Monaco player, speaking about his formative club, Thierry Henry’s influence on his decision and his objectives at the Principality club. 

Balogun joined Monaco for €30m, but bonuses included in the deal could ultimately take the fee up to €40m. The USMNT striker has signed a five-year deal with the Principality club, and manager Adi Hütter revealed that whilst his new striker is unlikely to start against RC Lens on Saturday, he may nonetheless be in the squad.

In a press conference, attended by Monaco Life on Thursday, Balogun gave his reactions to the move.

On joining Monaco

“When my agent spoke to me about the opportunity of me coming to Monaco, I knew it was the right fit. I told him I wanted to join AS Monaco because of the history of the club, a lot of great players have come here, and I just wanted to be a part of it. For me, the choice was pretty simple. Of course, there were things that needed to be sorted between the club, but as soon as that happened, I made the journey here.”

Folarin Balogun in AS Monaco training by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life.

“It’s never easy to step out of your comfort zone. I have made many changes in these past two seasons, but I feel like when you test yourself, you get the best results. I look to actively do this. That was part of the thought process in joining Monaco. I’ve come away from my family and friends, but you make these sacrifices in order to achieve your end goal.”

On Thierry Henry’s influence

“When I  played against Monaco with Stade de Reims last season, he sent me a message to congratulate me on my match. I asked him a bit about Monaco because it’s a beautiful place. I obviously knew that he’d played there and he told me a bit about the club. It was a brief chat, and then when I came into training today, after yesterday’s announcement, he congratulated me and he’s happy that I’m here. It’s a good feeling to have support from him.”

On leaving Arsenal

“For me, I don’t have any regrets. Football is a competitive sport, and of course, the manager sometimes makes choices: sometimes there are opportunities for some players, and sometimes it’s a bit difficult. I wanted to play, I wanted to prove to people that I can compete at this level. I think the decision was natural, but I wouldn’t say there is any regret.

As a young player, I want to play. I want to prove what I’m capable of. What’s done is done. You don’t always get the opportunity. Sometimes that opens the door to new opportunities. I am happy with the way things turned out. I wish Arsenal all the best for the season. We’re looking to achieve great things at Monaco this season.”

On price-tag pressure

“[The price tag] isn’t something to hide from, but it’s not something that I’ll allow to affect me in a negative way. Of course, there are expectations. I expect to produce good results and help the team. I would say the pressure is internal. There are expectations, but I’m not afraid of that.”

On competition and objectives

“For me, competition is normal. There was competition at Arsenal, and I wouldn’t expect to come to another top club like Monaco and not face competition. Wissam Ben Yedder is a legend, someone I can learn from. I’m looking forward to working with him, and it’s up to the manager how he uses us. I’m looking forward to getting to know him and working alongside him.

My objectives are not only to continue last season’s Ligue 1 form, but to improve on it. Of course, goals help the team and then collectively we want to finish as high as possible. We want to prove to other teams that we are a top team, which I believe we are.”


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Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

France makes changes to education, retirement and renovations from 1st September

1st september france

Here’s what to expect from the sweeping changes in France that will come into force on Friday 1st September.  

At the start of every month, the French government puts out an announcement on the latest changes and laws coming into effect in the country. From 1st September, just in time for La Rentrée, some changes in the educational system are in the spotlight, as are rules on how to collect aid for water-saving projects. Additionally, aspects of the controversial pension reform scheme are being realised.  

Here are a few of the other big changes happening as of next month.


Primary and secondary school teachers and staff will be seeing their pay packets rise by a minimum of €125 net per year, with the average pay rise being €158.  

Scholarship holders will also be seeing a bit more cash from September as a rise of €37 will go into effect. This amount was calculated according to inflationary figures and will be across the board for all students who receive grants.  

Finally, the Higher Education Bonus, which is awarded to teacher-researchers, is being increased to €1,785, an increase of over €100 per month. This initiative is in addition to the general measures recently announced by the government “to improve the working conditions and professional advancement of civil servants, particularly teachers”.  


From the start of September, people who undertake energy renovation works of more than €5,000 plus tax, requiring two or more actions, should head in the direction of the Accompagnateur Rénov’ guide. 

This means using a project management professional approved by the state or designated by a commune. Supported by the National Housing Agency (ANAH), this professional is responsible for assisting individuals in their energy renovation projects. Click here for more information.


The first of the month will also see a raft of new pension reform measures go into action. These include: the elimination of four special regimes; the revaluation of minimum pensions for new retirees; the expansion of the progressive retirement system; new rights linked to combining employment and retirement; the creation of an investment fund for workers affected by “wear and tear”; improvement of the professional prevention account; the creation of old age insurance for caregivers as well as the creation of the orphan’s pension under the general system; and the publication of various decrees relating to pension reform.  

For more information, click here.  


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Photo source: Delia Giandeini, Unsplash

Pétanque tournament named in honour of Princess Gabriella to take place this weekend

Pétanque princess gabriella

The second edition of the Princess Gabriella Challenge, a women’s pétanque tournament named for Monaco’s youngest princess, will welcome teams from across Europe.

76 pairs are expected to take part in the Princess Gabriella Challenge between Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September. Nine Monegasque teams will participate, including European champions Laura Vierjon and Myriam Chambeiron, alongside world champions Spain, who are entering a team into the all-women event on the Rainier III boules pitch in the Espace Saint Antoine of the Stade Louis II.

Free entry

France’s Nelly Peyré, who last season won with Céline Lebossé, comes into the second edition of the event as a reigning champion and she will be amongst the favourites to win again. This year, she will compete alongside Audrey Banderia. Aurélie Bories and Alexia Pinto are the second French team taking part in the event. Alongside the Spanish side, this other French duo are also hotly tipped for a win at the weekend.

Access for the event is entirely free. The group stages will begin at 9.30am on the Saturday, with the final day of competition on Sunday getting underway at 10.00am.


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Photo source: Club-Bouliste Monégasque

How to get a Monaco stamp in your passport 

monaco passport stamp

It’s a little-known fact that visitors to the Principality, from no matter how far afield, can get their passports stamped with the official seal of Monaco. Here’s how.  

There are many, many things that make Monaco special, from the iconic Casino de Monte-Carlo to the fleets of top-of-the-range sportscars on its streets and the insanely luxurious superyachts bobbing in Port Hercule. But one characteristic that makes the Principality that much different from all the other destinations of this calibre – if you can think of any – is its unique status. 

As explained by ETIAS, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, “Monaco doesn’t formally belong to either the European Union or the European Economic Area.” 

Neither it is an official member of the Schengen Area, but Monaco is considered as “associate member” due to its connections with France, which is a fully subscribing Schengen country, and that fact that anyone coming to Monaco, including by sea, will have to pass through French territory in order to reach its shores. 

Ultimately, this means that visitors to the Principality, whether they’re coming from just over the border in France or from thousands of kilometres away, can get their passports stamped legally with the seal of Monaco. It is not obligatory though, and is more of a memento of an incredible trip as there are no border control officials manning Monaco’s boundaries asking for proof of identity or a visa!

Where can I get my passport stamped? 

There is only one “real deal” place in Monaco that can officially stamp a passport: the Mairie de Monaco or the townhall, which is found in the Place de la Mairie on The Rock.  

In the height of summer, the number of people lining up to get this little keepsake can see queues heading out of the door, but usually you’ll only have to wait a few minutes.  

Just one more thing… It is important not to confuse the official stamping with the “token” stamps handed out by the tourism office. This latter address gives souvenir passports complete with photos of Monaco’s key attractions and a space for stamps and notes to anyone who asks for one. They are totally free of charge, but can be very popular in the summer and the tourism office sometimes runs out of stock.  


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Photo source: Kyle Evans, Unsplash

Alpes Maritimes offers big money subsidies for rainwater collection tanks

alpes maritimes rainwater collection

A new fund of up to €5,000 per project in the Alpes Maritimes could see hundreds if not thousands of rainwater collection tanks and cisterns installed or renovated in the region.  

The Alpes Maritimes’ local government has launched a new scheme to help people buy and install, as well as restore in certain cases, water collection cisterns on their properties, and residents could be in line for as much as €5,000 in financial aid if they take the department up on its offer.  


The programme is aimed at homeowners of both primary and secondary residences, Société Civile Immobilières (SCIs) with one or more of the shareholders living on site as their main residence, and usufructuaries. Social housing landlords are excluded from the deal.  

The funds can help cover tanks of a minimum of 3,000 litres that can be integrated into the crawl spaces or in a closed structure of homes, or fitted beneath the ground. Pumping equipment and filtration systems that are part of the system are eligible for coverage too, as well as any electrical connections that are required.   

If a home has a pre-existing tank of 3,000 litres or more that is no longer operational, the authorities may also help pay for the necessary renovations to allow the cistern to be used again as a “rainwater harvester”.  

The maximum amount of funds available per project is €5,000 or 50% of the total costs incurred capped at €10,000 and excluding tax.   


The first rule to abide by if you’re seeking financial support is that any work done or materials bought prior to the confirmed reception of an application could render assistance null and void. Essentially, make sure you file the complete dossier correctly before taking any further steps.  

Applicants must provide a raft of information, including bank details, house deeds, latest income tax returns and an estimate from a professional of the work to be undertaken as well as the type of cistern being used. A proof of purchase invoice will also be required further down the line. 

If a landlord is applying, they will be required to present a “current rental lease or document attesting to the desire to rent the accommodation as a primary residence within six months following the end of the work or a rental lease having ended less than three months prior to the submission of the application”.   

For further information, please click here.  


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Photo source: Delia Giandeini, Unsplash

More details revealed about Monaco’s first ever employment forum

monaco age oncology

The Monaco pour l’Emploi (Monaco for Employment) forum on 15th September will be a chance for hundreds of people to find not only jobs in the Principality’s hospitality sector, but everything from banking, to yachting, to digital industries.

After consultation with Monaco’s business community, Minister of State Pierre Dartout and Minister of Social Affairs and Health Christophe Robino announced in June that the government was initiating a job forum in September to fill hundreds of outstanding positions in the Principality.

Now, further details of the forum have been revealed. Called Monaco pour l’Emploi, the event will be held at the Grimaldi Forum on Friday 15th September from 9am to 6pm. Access is free and open to all.

Connecting jobseekers directly with potential employers

It is a unique opportunity for people looking for jobs to meet with companies, recruiters and unions all in one day, as well as associations representing the principal sectors of activity.

There will be an ‘Employment Coaching Centre’ provided in part by Monaco’s Employment Service, while the Social Funds of Monaco will be present to provide information on the labour laws in Monaco and give advice to candidates in their job search.

In addition to jobs in Monaco’s hospitality industry, the other sectors to be represented are banking/finance/insurance; commerce; accommodation/catering; industry; construction; business services (security/cleanliness/temporary work/accounting, etc.); digital/new technologies; health/social action; yachting/transport/shipping; and job coaching.

Ahead of the forum, people who are looking for a job are invited to send their CVs by email to Employers can send their job offers by email to

More information can be found on the Forum’s Linkedin page:


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Photo by Monaco Life