The prodigal French striker is political football for far-right fans

When France met West Germany in the semi-finals of the 1982 World Cup in Sicily, many French fans considered the Germans not just opponents. They were the descendants of war enemies. The flight of German goalkeeper Tony Schumacher, who hospitalized Patrick Batiston of France, պարտ The defeat of the French penalty kick had traumatic memories.

But when France met Germany in Munich on Tuesday for their first match of Euro 2020, some French fans chose another enemy – their central striker Karim Benzema.

French far right puts him as “incarnation” Suburbs:, mostly poor, immigrant suburbs, where France maintains its lowest castes. In: Suburbs: replaced Germany as the main center of French fear of violent attack, Again, the French world champions have become the subject of a Trump-style cultural war focused on race.

In 2015, it was Benzema expel from the team when he claimed he had helped his friend blackmail another French colleague, known as “la sextape” – the case is being tried in October. The extreme right-wing leader of Amanak Marine Le Pen “Karim Benzema should never have joined the French national team. “I think he is the one who has repeatedly despised France.” Now, after staying in the pavilion for about six years, he has been recalled Blues:,

Benzema is a custom target for the fiery right. Originally from Algeria, he grew up outside of Lyon, then emigrated as a multimillionaire to Real Madrid. He called once Algeria “My country”.

Shortly after the Sextape story began, the November 2015 terrorist attacks, in which jihadist terrorists killed 130 people at the Bataclan Concert Hall, Stade de France, Parisian cafes and restaurants, caused a stir in France among young men of immigrant descent. It was Benzema eight days after the attacks filmed: spit – unintentionally, he insists – after playing Marseille.

French national football team wins Russia-Croatia 2018 final during France Cup match France-Croatia © Gabriel Bouys / AFP / Getty

In many countries, the national football team is felt to be the body of the nation. Some French people have never accepted that this national symbol should be mostly non-white.

In 1999, the French National Human Rights Advisory Commission asked a new question Annual survey on racist attitudesAre there “many players of foreign origin in the French national football team”? Last year, “players of foreign origin” became champions of France. 31% of respondents either fully or largely agree with the statement. Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean an-Marin, knew exactly what he was doing when he complained that “players are allowed to come from abroad to be baptized by the French team.”

Violates Blues: would culminate in the 2010 World Cup, when players went on strike in the middle of the tournament after arguing with their coach. Months later, French Football Federation officials, including then-coach Laurent Blanc, discussed reducing the number of black players in national youth training centers. 2013 survey by BVA consultants found that 82% of French people have a “bad opinion” Blues:,

In 2018, the clean, mostly non-white team, which played without Benzema, restored the team Blues:“Popularity: Winning the World Cup. Today, according to Odoxa, the favorite football player of France is considered Killian Mbabane, Parisian route: of Cameroonian-Algerian origin. He told me. “I have always felt French. I do not deny my origin because they are part of me, but at no point did it make me feel like I was not at home here. ”

Such moods of belonging are regularly expressed by the players of 2018, who are against the joke of the South African humorist operating in the USA. Trump’s “Africa Wins World Cup”Of course, the players are honest, but they also know that they can not take risks to take a stand against blackness or French racism.

They were reminded of the attacks on Benzema. Senator Stephen Ravière, senator of Le Pen’s “Ass People” (RN) party, calls on the attacker “paper french“Most of the far-right supporters oppose the call with Benzema,” they say Ifop:And RN has opened another front of the culture war, with Jordan Jordan Bardella, the party’s vice-president, complaining that a rapper has been selected to create the team’s official song for Euro 2020. surrender to “scum(“Scum”) – a long white code for non-white youth travelers.

France is the favorite of bookmakers to raise the euro. However, even if they win, it will not cure national divisions. That was exactly what many had hoped for since the 1998 victory. ogra demographer Michel Tribal said at a time when the multicultural team “did more for integration than years of political will.” Events because they suggest something else. The French team is not a hammer, a tool that can transform France. Instead, it is a mirror in which the country looks at itself.

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