Sarkozy furious at French anthem booing
French President and other political leaders were infuriated after the country’s was booed in Tuesday’s friendly win over Tunisia.
15 October 2008
PARIS -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other leading political figures reacted with shock and anger Wednesday after the country's national anthem was booed in Tuesday's friendly win over Tunisia.
Two goals from Thierry Henry gave coach Raymond Domenech a much-needed boost in cementing a 3-1 win at the Stade de France - but the booing and whistling by some in the crowd as the Marseillaise was played infuriated Sarkozy, who demanded an investigation.
The Elysee Palace announced that the president had summoned French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes following the "scandalous incidents which occurred at the Stade de France".
Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot and Bernard Laporte, the ministerial secretary of state, will also be present, Elysee sources said.
Laporte told Radio Monte Carlo that he was suggesting France no longer play friendlies against Maghreb region countries following similar problems in recent years against Algeria and Morocco.
Many of the 60,000 crowd were Tunisian - friendlies against North African sides traditionally attract widespread support from sizeable immigrant communities in and around the French capital.
Some booed when the names of the French players were read out over the PA system before kickoff, reaching a crescendo for Hatem Ben Arfa, born in France to Tunisian parents and who opted to play for the country of his birth despite overtures from the Tunisian Federation.
French Prime Minister François Fillon said the booing was "insulting" and that in the event of a repeat it would be necessary "to call off matches".
A sports ministry statement Tuesday read: "Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin and Bernard Laporte declare themselves shocked by the jeering tonight at the Stade de France during the football friendly between France and the Tunisian national team, notably during the playing of the Marseillaise, symbol of the French Republic."
[AFP / Expatica]