France Coach Fears Racism


France manager, Laurent Blanc said he “dared to hope” that the European Championship would not be blighted by racism.

None of the families of France’s 10 players of black or North African origin has so far decided not to travel unlike those of England’s Theo W,alcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – and Blanc said the issue had not been raised at the training camp.

“I hope that there won’t be a problem relating to the family or children of any player in Ukraine,” said Blanc. “I dare to hope that football can rise above that. That’s not so clear, but I do dare to hope that sport, and notably football, can get over that.

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“We haven’t approached the question. We’ve got enough things to think about so we haven’t looked at that. But we might. It’s a question for the players to answer because it concerns them mainly. This sort of thing is about their loved ones.”

The issue is perhaps a delicate one for Blanc, who was himself caught up in a race row after senior French federation officials raised the idea of a quota system for black and ethnic-minority players. A government inquiry into the affair cleared Blanc of any racist tendency.

Asked for his opinion on Mario Balotelli’s comments that he might be prepared to go to prison for “killing” someone who racially attacked him, Blanc responded only: “I’ve not seen the article, only the title. I can’t really comment on that. But in any case all acts of racism in a football stadium should be condemned.”