Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes France remains united after the "dreadful and terrible" terrorist attack at the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris this week.
Twelve people were killed in Wednesday's attack on the offices of the weekly publication, which had been threatened before for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed.
Wenger expressed his dismay at the events and hopes that what happened will not polarise the French population along religious or ethnic lines.
"It is a dreadful and terrible situation," the Frenchman said.
"It is shocking. I think the whole country is shocked. France is a country with a freedom of speech, it has a big history and to think in a country like France you can die today because of your ideas and the way you want to speak is absolutely shocking.
"I hope at the moment that the whole country is united and I hope it will not create a divided country, the consequences of that would be terrible."
Many other stars from the world of sport showed their support on Thursday with the likes of tennis stars Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marion Bartoli posting messages on social network sites, as did Formula One driver Romain Grosjean.
The French Football Federation, as well as the governing body for French rugby union, announced that all fixtures played under their auspices would observe a minute's silence beforehand.
The French Basketball Federation, the French Cyclo-cross Championships at Pontchateau and the Ski-cross World Cup event at Val Thorens will also all hold a minute's silence to honour the victims of the attack labelled by President Francois Hollande as: "an act of exceptional barbarism".