Di­dier slams Can­tona ac­cu­sa­tions

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Paris

France coach Di­dier Deschamps said on Mon­day he could not for­get the ac­cu­sa­tions ut­tered by Eric Can­tona con­cern­ing his player se­lec­tions and vowed to pur­sue the Manch­ester United leg­end to the bit­ter end in court.

Can­tona had ac­cused his for­mer in­ter­na­tional and club team­mate of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion in his choice of play­ers for Euro 2016, claim­ing Deschamps had snubbed Karim Ben­zema and Hatem Ben Arfa be­cause of their “north African ori­gins”.

“It’s un­ac­cept­able and I won’t for­get, I have made ju­di­cial ar­range­ments and I’ ll go to the end,” said Deschamps. “To hold it against him is the least you can say.

“I’m a coach, I’m ready to take blows from every­where. Af­ter that,there is a limit that can­not be crossed.”

Can­tona’s re­marks caused an uproar be­fore the Euro­pean cham­pi­onships, where the host even­tu­ally lost in the fi­nal to Por­tu­gal.

“One thing is for sure — Ben­zema and Ben Arfa are two of the best play­ers in France and will not play the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship. And for sure, Ben­zema and Ben Arfa, their ori­gins are north African. So, the de­bate is open,” Can­tona told British news­pa­per The Guardian in May.

“But Deschamps, he has a re­ally French name. Maybe he is the only one in France to have a truly French name.

“Nobody in his fam­ily mixed with any­body, you know. Like the Mor­mons in Amer­ica.”

Can­tona, who won 45 caps for France be­tween 1987 and 1995, has in the past been very crit­i­cal of his for­mer team­mate Deschamps, who in 1996 he branded a “vul­gar wa­ter car­rier”.

For­mer Mar­seille striker Can­tona retired in 1997 be­fore tak­ing up a ca­reer in cinema. In 2007, he mar­ried Franco-Al­ge­rian ac­tress Rachida Brakni.

The ex­clu­sion of Ben­zema, of Al­ge­rian des­cent, fol­lowed his im­pli­ca­tion in an al­leged at­tempt by one of his friends to black­mail in­ter­na­tional team­mate Mathieu Val­buena over a sex tape.

For­mer New­cas­tle winger Ben Arfa, of Tu­nisian ori­gin, was hope­ful of mak­ing the squad af­ter re­launch­ing his ca­reer with Nice but had to set­tle for a place on Deschamps’ standby list.

Di­dier Deschamps

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