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Page last updated at 12:49 GMT, Friday, 17 October 2008 13:49 UK

Platini slams Sarkozy booing plan

Uefa president Michel Platini
Platini has slammed plans to scrap games if the anthem is booed

Michel Platini has called French government plans to halt games if the national anthem is jeered "absurd".

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered that any match in France be halted if the "Marseillaise" is booed.

The order came after the jeering of the national anthem before Tuesday's friendly between France and Tunisia.

"If you start halting matches if there are whistles during the anthem then you could also halt a match when a player is jeered. It's absurd," he said.

Talking with Le Monde newspaper he added: "Once again, football has been taken hostage by politicians because this business about the whistling has become a political affair which has nothing to do with sport.

"Thirty years ago, when I played with the France team, the Marseillaise was whistled at every venue.

"But at the time, politicians were not interested in football and it didn't upset anyone."

We need to get to work so we know what we have to do if there's a crisis

Jean-Pierre Escalettes, president of the FFF

The whistles were not, he said, an insult to France but simply part of fans' rivalry in football.

He added: "On other occasions, I'm sure the same young people who jeered the Marseillaise on Tuesday night sang the national anthem when France played a game during the European championships or the World Cup."

Many of the 60,000 crowd on Tuesday were Tunisian - friendlies against North African sides traditionally attract widespread support from sizeable immigrant communities in France.

Sarkozy and fellow politicians reacted with shock and anger at the booing and whistling.

Bernard Laporte, the government's secretary of state for sport, even suggested that France no longer play friendlies against North African countries following similar problems in recent years against Algeria and Morocco - like Tunisia, former colonies of France.

Jean-Pierre Escalettes, president of the French Football Federation, admitted Friday that implementing the ruling to halt a match would be a tough proposition.

"Evacuating a stadium when the national anthem is jeered is now something we have to do," Escalettes said.

"It's difficult but not impossible, with the police, the ministry and federation working hand in hand.

"We need to get to work so we know what we have to do if there's a crisis."

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

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