Paris: French football chief Noel Le Graet on Saturday slammed claims by former international Eric Cantona that France coach Didier Deschamps was guilty of racial discrimination in his Euro 2016 selection as “stupid” and “pathetic”.
Cantona told British daily The Guardian on Thursday that Deschamps had snubbed Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa because of their “north African origins”.
“I find that stupid. On the eve of the Euro, it’s totally out of order,” French Football Federation president Le Graet said on the sidelines of the body’s general assembly in Tours, praising Deschamps as “rigorous, frank, upright and honest”.
Deschamps’ lawyer said on Friday that the France coach would be suing Cantona for his comments. “We are going to file a complaint for slander,” said Carlo Alberto Brusa.
“Any man in his (Deschamps) position would have been upset,” Le Graet said of what he termed a “pathetic attack”.
“Throughout his career he has had an undeniable moral code of conduct. I cannot imagine for an instant that the team selections are made on any other criteria but sporting.” “He doesn’t deserve what was written,” said Le Graet.