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Give French football team's bonuses to amateur clubs says parliamentarian

Photo / PIERRE VERDY

The bad behaviour of France’s national football team is once again a subject for national debate. On Tuesday, Centre-right parliamentarian Jean-Louis Borloo suggested that the huge Euro 2012 bonuses promised to "les Bleus” should instead be given to amateur football clubs…

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Borloo’s comments on RTL radio follow those yesterday of Socialist Olivier Faure, a close ally of President François Hollande. Faure told French radio Europe 1 “Today many French people will ask why we pay so much out to people who respect the public so little.”

Everything was supposed to be so different this time. After the debacle of the national team’s performance at the World Cup in South Africa, where they went on strike and refused to emerge from their bus at one training session, there was a national outcry, with former President Nicolas Sarkozy even getting involved.

When Laurent Blanc took over the team, he made clear that one of his priorities was to change the attitudes of the players, stressing public behaviour, discipline, team spirit and pride in playing for France.

Just before the team left for Donetsk, hopes were high when they unfurled a banner reading “To the Euros, with you, for you”.

Now questions are being asked about whether Laurent Blanc should remain in the job, after what many in the football press consider to be his misplaced faith in player Samir Nasri.

As well as a mediocre performance, Sami Nasri insulted journalists covering the Euros matches and Blanc refused to condemn a particularly foul-mouthed attack on one journalist.

Yann M’Vila failed to shake hands with either the trainer or the substitute who came on to replace him in Saturday’s match, and Jérémy Ménez insulted the referee.

And when the Blues returned to Le Bourget in France on Sunday morning, most ignored the crowds who had come to greet them and only M’Vila bothered to sign autographs.

Today much of the French press is now asking whether the Good Conduct Charter, drawn up after the World Cup disaster in 2010 has now been binned, and whether the loutish, selfish comportment of key players is just another manifestation of generally bad behaviour in society.

Manu Pirès is responsible for the Training Centre for promising 15 year olds run by OGC in Nice. “I will not allow anything which I consider to be detrimental to team spirit”, he says.
“No ipod headphones once they step off the coach, no body piercing, no tattoos and no eccentric haircuts – some of them want their hair in a crest, just to get attention. Sometimes they hate me for it, but the bad behaviour of certain players in the French team, will lend force to my arguments”

Mourad Boudjellal, who is president of Toulon Rugby Club condemns France’s football team in the strongest terms “I will pay for saying this, but someone should should use a Karcher (high-power water hose) on this French football team.” The word carries particular baggage in France, because Nicolas Sarkozy also used it when as Interior Minister he referred, to neighbourhood vandals.

“We’re a long way from the class of Zidane”, says Boudjellal, continuing “what is a kid living in the tougher outskirts of France’s cities going to associate with Nasri?”

Jamel Sandjak is president of the football club in just such an area, Seine Saint Denis. He says that young players know about Zidane and Platini, but that when they are wearing the French colours, “they are wearing the whole history of France. Today they do not fully appreciate what they represent.”
 

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