BBC Sport football

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 17:30 UK

France make anthem threat to fans

Tunisian fans
Tunisian fans are among the most passionate in world football

Football matches in France will be called off immediately if spectators jeer during the French national anthem, says the country's sports minister.

France's national anthem was booed in Tuesday's friendly win over Tunisia.

"Any match at which our national anthem is whistled at will be immediately stopped," said Roselyne Bachelot.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the booing was "insulting" and that in the event of a repeat it would be necessary "to call off matches".

"It's insulting for France, it's insulting for the players of the French team, it should not be tolerated," he added.

"I think we should stop the matches when the anthems, whichever they are, are booed."

Two goals from Thierry Henry gave France coach Raymond Domenech a much needed boost in cementing a 3-1 win in Paris.

When whistling of our national anthem happens, all friendly games with the country concerned will be suspended for a period yet to be determined by the federation president

France's sports minister Roselyne Bachelot
But the booing and whistling by some in the crowd - many of them Tunisian - as the French anthem was played infuriated France's political establishment.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has demanded an investigation into the matter.

President Sarkozy's aides said he had summoned French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes following the "scandalous incidents which occurred at the Stade de France".

Bachelot added: "Government members will immediately leave the arena where our national anthem has been whistled.

"When whistling of our national anthem happens, all friendly games with the country concerned will be suspended for a period yet to be determined by the federation president."

Sports Minister Bernard Laporte has suggested that France no longer play friendlies against Maghreb region countries.

There have been similar problems in recent years in matches against Algeria and Morocco.

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.

Arfa opted to play for the country of his birth despite overtures from the Tunisian Federation.

"I'm not really angry with them," said Ben Arfa. "It's a bit of a shame but it's not a major problem. They need to exist, you have to understand them."

Print Sponsor


see also
Domenech to stay as France coach
15 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Coelho signs for Tunisia
04 Jun 08 |  African
Tunisia approach Jacques Santini
25 Apr 08 |  African


related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.