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Blatter threatens to ban France from international football

Discussion in 'Sports' started by BAK, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Tue Jun 29 11:30am EDT
    Blatter threatens to ban France from international football

    By Richard Whittall
    [​IMG]
    French president Nicolas Sarkozy ​
    In France, trying to separate football from politics is a little like trying to separate the Brazilian national team from the color yellow; the two are synonymous in world soccer. As the New York Times reported following France's winless group stage exit from South Africa 2010, everyone from low-level politicians to well-known philosophers to right-wing demagogues have chimed in on what the "meaning" is behind a bunch of French stars playing like numpties because they despise their inept manager.
    The problem is FIFA always has maintained that national football associations — in this case, the French Football Federation (FFF) — should be solely responsible for soccer and free from political interference. It seems the resignation of FFF president, Jean-Pierre Escalettes, described as "unavoidable" by the French sports minister, was for FIFA president Sepp Blatter the final straw. As Blatter told reporters:
    "In France they have made an 'affaire d'Etat' with football, but football remains in the hands of the federation. French football can rely on FIFA in case of political interference even if it is at presidential level, it is a clear message. We will help the national association and if it cannot be solved by consultation then the only thing we have is to suspend the federation."

    Blatter certainly has his work cut out for him. Sarkozy already has personally involved himself in what many describe as a "moral crisis" in France, speaking with Thierry Henry immediately following the French icon's return from South Africa. Others have tried to use the team as a symbol of French social disunity arising from the "banlieus," inner-city neighbourhoods populated by French-speaking immigrants which were the scene of intense anti-police rioting in recent years.
    All this further underlines that in France, as in many European nations, football is literally a "political football." Sarkozy and others are in part just trying to score some political points by playing up to a disappointed French fans of all political stripes. If a French politician can connect themselves to a perceived improvement in the national football set-up, they can fall back on it in election time. As far as being banned from FIFA is concerned, the best that France can do is at least try and create the appearance that French football is unmolested by politics, but that won't make football any less political.
    Photo Credit: Associated Press
     
  2. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Sarkozy meets Thierry Henry over World Cup fiasco

    [​IMG]
    AFP - Friday, June 25

    [​IMG]
    France striker Thierry Henry runs during the team's Group A first round match against South Africa on June 22, which they lost 2-1. Henry met French president Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee palace as the president demanded answers over the team's humiliating exit from the World Cup.

    PARIS (AFP) - – Football star Thierry Henry met Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee palace on Thursday as the president demanded answers over the French team's humiliating exit from the World Cup.

    Henry flew in from South Africa and was taken in a limousine provided by the French presidency to meet with Sarkozy, who has drawn criticism for making football an affair of state after calling for heads to roll over the debacle.
    No details were released from their meeting but the shamed players' homecoming turned into a morbid spectacle as television channels broadcast live pictures of their team plane landing and cars whisking them away.

    France reacted with a mix of humiliation and anger to the team's elimination from the tournament which came after two defeats, one draw, a players' strike and foul-mouthed squabbles in the dressing room.
    Sarkozy, a big football fan, on Wednesday called a meeting of government ministers on the matter and asked them "to make sure that those responsible meet the consequences of this disaster," a presidential statement said.
    "He also asked ministers to see that no financial benefits are paid to any of the France team."

    Sarkozy's opponents criticised him for interfering but press reports said that Henry, France's all-time top goal-scorer, had himself requested the meeting.
    "That the president is taking charge of football is not a normal situation but we are not facing a normal situation," said deputy Thierry Mariani, a member of Sarkozy's UMP party.
    "Football is part of our country's image. Restoring our image is the head of state's duty," he said.
    A group of non-governmental organisations including Oxfam said Sarkozy had scrapped a meeting with them to discuss this weekend's Group of 20 summit, in order to make time for Henry.

    The Elysee presidential palace insisted in a statement that the meeting had been shifted "not because of the president's meeting with Thierry Henry... but because of constraints linked to the preparation of the G8 and G20 summits."
    Government spokesman Luc Chatel savaged the team on Wednesday, saying they lacked "respect, team spirit, pride and enough dignity to wear the shirt of any club." He singled out France's unpopular coach Raymond Domenech.
    Many fans have written off the team, known as Les Bleus, as spoiled millionaires led by an incompetent coach and unworthy of the blue jersey worn by the 1998 world champions.

    Tens of thousands of French fans across the country booed the team during Tuesday's broadcast of their limp 2-1 defeat to hosts South Africa, even cheering ironically when South Africa scored.
    Florent Malouda -- the only Frenchman to have found the back of the net in the tournament -- promised that the players would work better with Domenech's replacement, Laurent Blanc.

    "Me, I'll stay on," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper Le Parisien.
    "We have a responsibility to rebuild what we have destroyed."
     
  3. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Racial Tinge Stains World Cup Exit in France
    [​IMG] Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images
    The French soccer team on Sunday before an aborted practice session in South Africa. Some in France have questioned the players' lack of patriotism, shared values and national honor.

    By STEVEN ERLANGER

    Published: June 23, 2010




    PARIS - After France was booted from this year's World Cup on Tuesday without winning a match - amid scenes of selfishness, indifference and indiscipline - the French news media piled on about the humiliation to the country and the misbehavior of its players. There were calls for a complete restructuring of the French team: its management, its method for choosing players, its training.



    But there is a more troubling aspect to the reaction to the defeat, which has focused on lack of patriotism, shared values and national honor on a team with many members who are black or brown and descended from immigrants.
    The philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, who has often criticized the failures of French assimilation, compared the players to youths rioting in the banlieues, France's suburban ghettos. "We now have proof that the French team is not a team at all, but a gang of hooligans that knows only the morals of the mafia," he said in a radio interview.

    While most politicians have talked carefully of values and patriotism, rather than immigration and race, some legislators blasted the players as "scum," "little troublemakers" and "guys with chickpeas in their heads instead of a brain," according to news reports.
    Fadela Amara, the junior minister for the racially charged suburbs who was born to Algerian parents, warned on Tuesday that the reaction to the team's loss had become racially charged.

    "There is a tendency to ethnicize what has happened," she told a gathering of President Nicolas Sarkozy's governing party, according to news reports. "Everyone condemns the lower-class neighborhoods. People doubt that those of immigrant backgrounds are capable of respecting the nation."

    She criticized Mr. Sarkozy's handling of a debate on "national identity," warning that "all democrats and all republicans will be lost" in this ethnically tinged criticism about Les Bleus, the French team. "We're building a highway for the National Front," she said, in a reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen.
    Philippe Tétart, a sport historian at the Institut d'Études Politiques, said that the undercurrent of racism was "very unhealthy, but one of the predictable negative outcomes of the World Cup defeat."

    France is confused about its identity and uncomfortable with the growing numbers and sometimes the attitudes of its immigrants and their children, he said. "What is certain is that we are going through in France questions of disobedience, of incivility, of loss of bearings, and this group of irritated young kids is an excessive reflection of those questions."

    In 1998, the French team that won the World Cup was widely praised for its multiethnic nature - black, white and Arab, and seen as a symbol of a more diverse nation. But today, Mr. Tétart said, the talk is the opposite.
    Today's players, he said, "come from a generation who come from the banlieues, and they don't necessarily have the cultural background to understand what they did."

    Luc Chatel, the education minister, said on television Wednesday that he was "terribly angry" and shocked that Raymond Domenech, the team's coach, who is blamed for some of the team's disunity and apologized to the nation for the failures, refused to shake hands with the South African manager after the team's final game.

    "But I'm going to go farther," he added. "A captain of the French team who does not sing ‘The Marseillaise,' " the national anthem, "shocks me, there it is. When one wears the jersey, one should be proud to wear the colors, you're an example."

    He was speaking of Patrice Evra, who was born in Senegal and who found himself caught between players and managers as the team refused to practice after another black player, Nicolas Anelka, swore at Mr. Domenech and was removed from the team.

    Mr. Sarkozy himself called a meeting on the disastrous result on Wednesday, summoning Prime Minister François Fillon, Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot and Rama Yade, the junior sports minister. In a statement, he said he had ordered them "to rapidly draw the lessons of this disaster."

    The racial makeup of the French team has long been an issue on the far right, even in a country where all the French are "citizens" and are supposed to have equal rights. Of the 22-man squad, 13 are men of color, with two born in French territories.

    This month, Marine Le Pen, the vice president of the National Front and daughter of its founder, said that she did not see herself in the makeup of the team, whose players behaved as individuals, not as a team, and who were "fighting for advertising contracts more than for their country."

    "Most of these guys," she added, "consider at one moment that they represent France at the World Cup, and at another they are a part of another nation or have another nationality in their heart."
    In her contempt, which carefully did not mention the factors of race and ethnicity but implied them, she was echoing her father, who in June 2006 criticized the team for containing too many nonwhite players and failing to accurately reflect society. He also went on to scold players for not singing "La Marseillaise," saying they were not French.

    On Tuesday, Mr. Le Pen said that "the myth of antiracism is a sacred myth in France." He added, apparently with no irony, that he hated politicians who turned the national soccer team into "a flag of antiracism instead of sport."

    Now, the language of Mr. Chatel, the education minister, resonates with the themes of the Le Pens. That reflects, critics say, the general effort of Mr. Sarkozy and his party, over the last few years, to weaken the far right by playing on the same themes of patriotism, nationhood and identity.


    A version of this article appeared in print on June 24, 2010, on page A4 of the New York edition.
     
  4. Nyambala

    Nyambala JF-Expert Member

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    Pambaf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, ina maana ile timu iliyoshinda '98 world cup au ilyofika fainali kwenye 2006 worldcup ilikuwa comprised na akina nani? Yaani hizi harakati za kutafuta excuses kama zinafika huku basi France walisahau hilo kombe in the next 20 yrs.
     
  5. Nyambala

    Nyambala JF-Expert Member

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    I can not imagine the Tea party has a branch in France too!!!!!! hahah ahah haha.....
     
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