Hi guys,
Football is the most popular sport, and therefore, everybody has an opinion and can speak his mind about a team’s performance. However, french politicians are going beyond expressing an opinion. Today, the sports minister Chantal Jouanno said: “Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery must never return to play for the french national team. We must not forget what happened in South Africa. These guys disrespected the values sport and of the french republic”. She missed an opportunity to……keep her mouth shut!

I did not plan to publish an(other) article about the humiliation of the french national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but I could not not report this. After the World Cup, the french press unleashed a witch hunt against the players, and trust me, that was ugly to watch, hear and read.

The press, the politics, every Joe Schmoe (or Tom, Dick and Harry) was ready to hang, burn, whip every single one of them. The press did its job. L’Équipe for instance created nonexistent facts (so far, Anelka said he did not insult Domenech, which triggered to him being expelled and the players going on strike) in order to sell its toilet paper. So to a certain extend, this tabloid has a great share of responsibility for the fiasco in Knysna. By the way, Anelka sued the tabloid!

Chantal Jouanno

As for the politics, I am torn between laughter, anger, or willing to vomit when I hear what they have to say about the World Cup and football in general. What often comes back about the turmoil in South Africa is that they disrespected the values of the french republic.

Are you kidding me? The one who constantly disrespects the values of the french republic is the 1.20 m head of state himself, calling young lads “scums”, outlining that he will “clean up the suburbs with a high pressure hose“, putting in place policy to deport Roms despite global critics , etc.

I will not give all the despicable examples of the actions of the sarkozy administration, but these guys being vocals about disrespecting the values of the Republic? that’s a joke!

When Chantal Jouanno disagrees with Evra and Ribery’s potential return, it’s a typical exemple of how this administration runs the country. Willingness to get involved in everything and deciding for everybody. So far, FIFA has warned the French government to treat very carefully its dealings with the French Football Federation (FFF) in the aftermath of the team’s humiliating exit from the World Cup. But hey, we do whatever we want right?

Les Bleus’ behaviour in South Africa was wrong and they paid the price. I am not talking about the arbitrary fines where Anelka was suspended for 18 matches for something he denied saying, and Toulalan (the one who took the initiative to call his lawyer and have him write the strike letter) was suspended for only ONE game. Go figure because I can’t.

This being said, I really do not understand why french politics still get involved anyway. Evra and Ribery are fantastic players and deserve to play for the national team, regardless what happened 7 months ago. If we follow the same moronic logic, Roy Keane should have never been called back in the Irish National team after his clash with Mick Mc Carthy in 2002. If we follow the same idiotic logic, David Beckham should have never played for the 3 Lions ever again after World Cup 1998. What about Cantona the King who called Henri Michel “a scumbag” in 1988? All of these guys should have been banned for life??

So please Chantal, check your job description. It’s not written anywhere that you have to give coaching advises to any Federation whatsoever. Laurent Blanc’s job is to take the best players and make the french team win again.  Chantal, try at least to understand football, then talk or “tais toi“!

Karl Lusbec

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