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French press review 3 June 2015

Joe Blatter and the question of how corrupt is world football's governing body get a lot of coverage in this morning's French papers. Greek debt raises its ugly head, with just three days to go to the deadline for Athens to pay up. Then there's the debate about history in French schools and air in French cities.


Sports daily L'Equipe has resigning Fifa president, Joseph Blatter, on the front page, "His back against the wall".

L'Equipe repeats the claim published overnight by The New York Times newspaper that Blatter is himself going to be investigated by the FBI as part of the corruption case associated with the awarding of recent and forthcoming World Cup competitions.

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L'Equipe says it could take anything from six to nine months to find a new Fifa chief.

The Paris sports daily suggests that the current boss of European football, Michel Platini, is the front-runner to replace Blatter, with last week's beaten candidate, Ali Ben al-Hussein, former players David Ginola and Luis Figo, and the administrators Jérôme Champagne and Michel van Pragg among the contenders .

Le Monde says Paris and Berlin are stepping up the pressure on the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank to get Greece off the hook before Friday's deadline for Athens to pay back some of the money it owes the IMF.

The centrist daily seems fairly sure that some sort of a deal will be hammered out to save Athens from technical bankruptcy. The Americans have let it be known that they want an agreement to keep the eurozone together because Washington is afraid of the impact of a Greek default on the global financial balance. Greece currently owes 321 billion euros to various creditors, 177 per cent of what the country could produce in a good year.

A lot of that money came originally from the European stability fund. In other words, from French and German taxpayers. So French president François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are understandably anxious to save as much of the furniture and livestock as possible.

Communist paper L'Humanité looks at the same story and sees a different reality. Merkel, Hollande, Juncker, Draghi and Lagarde have been meeting behind closed doors with a view to forcing the Greeks to go on singing from the same old austerity hymn-sheet.

L'Humanité says it is unreasonable to ask Athens to continue following policies which have ravaged the national economy in the name of defending an unworkable vision of free-market liberalism.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

Europe has to bring Athens to heel or see the house of cards come down around its metaphorical ears.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wants to see a different Europe, based on sharing, equality and democracy. Unfortunately, none of those principles works well when you're up to your oxters in debt.

Catholic La Croix looks at the teaching of history in French schools as the council which decides on what French children should be taught meets to consider how the past should, in future, be presented.

The minister would like to see the programme made more appropriate to today's multi-cultural France and has asked for a module on the history of Islam to be made compulsory. This has annoyed many who feel that the Christian heritage is more than enough religious baggage for stundents in a secular society, especially since some say the course on Islam might, because of time pressure, have to replace existing modules on, say, the Enlightenment or the Renaissance.

And there are those who would like to see more chronology and fewer modules in the history curriculum.

The problem is that history has to keep up to date and that requires hard choices on what should be regarded as central. Don't expect the debate to end peacefully any day soon.

Right-wing daily Le Figaro is annoyed that the new law intended to simplify labour administration is actually going to impose new obligations on employers.

And Libération looks at air pollution in major French cities finding that, if you want to survive, you'd be well advised to stop breathing.

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