France defender Lilian Thuram has spoken out against French socialist leader, Georges Freche, who questioned the about the number of black players in the national team.
Freche sparked outrage when he said: “On this team, there are nine blacks out of the 11. Normally, there should only be three or four. That would be a reflection of our society. But if there are so many, it’s because the whites are useless.”
His comments follow those of far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen who suggested during the World Cup that France was not truly represented by the national team.
Thuram described Freche’s remarks as “unhealthy, racist and dangerous.
“What’s unhealthy in what Freche and others have said is that they question the number of blacks on the France team to pit blacks against whites.
“This racist talk is extremely dangerous especially in a social situation where people are choking economically.
“We can ask the question but you have to understand two things.
“For a long time the great footballers have come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.
“And as, in France, a large part of those who live in the most disadvantaged areas are black, it’s only normal to find a lot of them on the France team.
“The second important point is the message conveyed to the black population, with the social enhancement sport gives. Subconsciously we are preparing these people to follow this path.”