Benzema Accuses Deschamps Of Racism TrendyVoice

1 June 2016

Benzema Accuses Deschamps Of Racism

Karim Benzema unleashed a new storm of
controversy on Wednesday by saying French
coach Didier Deschamps had "bowed to pressure
from a racist part of France" by keeping him out
of the Euro 2016 squad.
However, politicians and France's football
establishment leaped to Deschamps defence over
the interview that the Real Madrid star gave to a
Spanish newspaper.

Benzema, who is of Algerian
origin, was excluded from
France's squad after being
charged with complicity in
an attempt to blackmail
France teammate Mathieu
Valbuena over a sextape.
But questions about the
motives for excluding
Benzema and fellow striker
Hatem Ben Arfa, whose
father was a Tunisian international, have been
raised by France football legend Eric Cantona,
setting off a new racism debate.
Marca sports daily asked Benzema whether he
believed Deschamps was racist.
"No, I don't think so. But he bowed to pressure
from a racist part of France," Benzema replied,
referring to the right-wing National Front.
"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."

The forward said he was "convinced" his
suspension was due to outside forces.
And Cantona weighed into the debate again in an
interview published on the Liberation newspaper
website on Wednesday night.
The former Manchester United star said last
year's Paris terror attacks meant that "the north
African community is viewed differently", adding
that French society is "punishing an entire
When France won the World Cup in 1998 it was
hailed as a major step for recognising the
country's multi-cultural roots.
However the National Front's rise in recent
elections and polls has brought immigration and
race back into the political debate.
- Front riposte to Benzema -
National Front deputy leader Florian Philippot laid
into Benzema on Twitter, declaring: "The French
people should not have to put up with your
unworthy accusations because you flee your
Cantona, though, defended Benzema, saying he'd
reacted "like a French citizen".
Mainstream parties also leapt to Deschamps's
French Sports Minister Patrick Kanner said: "I can
understand Mr Benzema's disappointment but
under no circumstances are his statements
acceptable regarding what he said about Mr
Deschamps's sporting decisions nor his
Francois Fillon, prime minister from 2007 to
2012, slammed Benzema's comments: "Forever
bringing the nation's problems down to questions
of race, religion and ethnic communities, it's

French Football Federation president Noel Le
Graet said Deschamps was "blameless" and that
Benzema had "let himself go a bit too far".
Rising French star Kingsley Coman called the
racism accusations "ridiculous".
"There are a lot of coloured people, or people of
different origins, in the team," Coman told a
press conference at a team training camp in
"Racism, I can't see it. It's just ridiculous," said
the Bayern Munich winger who is black.
Benzema is France's top scorer with 27 goals in
81 appearances, but even if selected for Euro
2016, it's unlikely he would have been first
choice forward ahead of the in-form Antoine
But the race controversy is a blow so close to the
start of the tournament in France on June 10.

Cantona originally set off the race debate in an
interview with the British Guardian newspaper,
saying Benzema and Ben Arfa, who was in fine
form for Nice this season, were not in the French
squad because of their "North African origins".
Cantona moved to clarify those comments in his
Liberation interview, however, saying he wasn't
making any accusations, merely "asking a
question" and vowed to sue anyone who
misrepresented his statements.
Whether Benzema should be allowed back into
the France team has been a national debate
virtually since he was charged in November.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls and other politicians
opposed any return while the sex-tape inquiry
goes on. Benzema denies any wrongdoing in the

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