Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
A court date has been set after Didier Deschamps filed a complaint against Eric Cantona for slander when the latter said in an interview with The Guardian that Deschamps may have “left out players on racial grounds.”
The case will be heard by the high court in Paris on 28th February.
The current French national team manager Deschamps filed a complaint against legendary Manchester United forward Cantona, after the latter said in an interview in 2016 with The Guardian that Deschamps “may have left out France players on racial grounds.”
Cantona suggested that Karim Benzema and former Newcastle forward Hatem Ben Arfa “may have been a factor in the France manager Didier Deschamps leaving the pair out of his squad for next month’s European Championship.”
At the time, Cantona told The Guardian: “Benzema is a great player. Ben Arfa is a great player.”
He added: “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.
“So I’m not surprised he used the situation of Benzema not to take him. Especially after [France’s Prime Minister at the time Emmanuel] Valls said he should not play for France. And Ben Arfa is maybe the best player in France today. But they have some origins. I am allowed to think about that.”
When The Guardian asked Cantona if he was suggesting that Deschamps, a former France teammate he also described as “a muppet”, was guilty of discriminating against them, Cantona replied: “Maybe no, but maybe yes. Why not?
“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.”
Former Red Devil Cantona, 53, was charged with slander in November 2017, and it has now been confirmed by Le Parisien that the case will go to trial on 28th February 2020.
Former Chelsea midfielder Deschamps captained France to winning the World Cup in 1998 and Euro 2000.
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