French establishment decry Benzema racism claims
Karim Benzema’s claims that racism played a part in his non-selection for France’s Euro 2016 squad sparked a wave of indignation on Wednesday as Controversial Footballers politicians spoke out against the Real Madrid striker’s comments.
Under investigation over an alleged sex-tape blackmail case, Benzema told Spanish daily Marca that France coach Didier Deschamps had “bowed to pressure from a racist French party” in his selection process.
Patrick Kanner the French Sports Minister sympathised Best Betting Site with Benzema’s predicament but rejected any attack on the national coach with just nine days to go before the start of the France hosted Euro 2016.
“I can understand Mr Benzema’s disappointment but under no circumstances are his statements acceptable regarding what he said about Mr Deschamps’ sporting decisions nor his personality,” Kanner said.
“I call for calm, I would like us to concentrate on the competition and would ask everyone to get behind ‘the Blues’ (the French team) which is what the 23 squad members will be expecting of us. So let’s stop this non-debate,” he insisted.
Socialist Party parliamentarian Benoit Hamon told France’s Europe 1 radio station Wednesday that Benzema was: “right to say we are in a country where racism is on the rise.” But he insisted there was no evidence of Deschamps being a racist.
François Fillon who was Prime Minister for five years between 2007-2012 and who is hoping to run in the next presidential election rejected Benzema’s position out of hand.
“I can’t stand for that!”
“Forever bringing the nation’s problems down to questions of race, religion and ethnic communities, it’s unhealthy,” he said.
— world class striker —
Benzema’s comments as reported Win Big Today! in Marca echo similar accusations from the often controversial former French footballer Eric Cantona, who last week said Deschamps had excluded Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa because of their North African heritage — drawing a threat of legal action from the coach’s lawyer.
Benzema, a world class striker with five seasons at Real Madrid, was suspended from international duty in December over a legal investigation into an alleged attempt by one of his friends to blackmail France international Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.
He faces up to five years in jail over accusations he encouraged Valbuena to pay the blackmailers.
“They said I cannot be selected, fine. But on a sporting level, I don’t understand why,” he said.
“At a legal level, I am still innocent until proven guilty. They should wait until the justice system has made its decision.”
His path Best betting odds to the French Euro 2016 squad was at one time cleared when legal restrictions stopping him playing were lifted and it seemed he would make the squad after all.
But then tough-talking French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and other politicians began to oppose any rehabilitation while the sex-tape inquiry goes on.
“The only person who knows what happened in this affair, who knows the truth, is Valbuena,” Benzema told Marca.
“He played a role, he has not told the truth. I wanted to help him, nothing more, and the whole thing blew up in my face.”
The exclusion of Ben Arfa and Benzema from the national squad has caused waves in France, which is struggling with racial tensions after two deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.
Ben Arfa, Virtual Reality of Tunisian origin, had been hopeful of making the squad after relaunching his career at Nice, but instead had to settle for a place on Deschamps’s standby list of eight players.
Adding to the controversy, Cantona said in fresh comments published in Le Journal du Dimanche that without the two players, the squad does not reflect the France he loves.
Deschamps has refused to comment on Cantona’s accusations, although his lawyer last week said he planned to take legal action.
French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet dismissed Cantona’s initial comments as “stupid” and “pathetic”.
Another highly gifted French player of North African roots is Manchester City’s Samir Nasri, who was excluded from France’s 2014 World Cup squad after attitude issues.
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