EURO 2016

Didier Deschamps to sue Eric Cantona over racism accusation

The French coach will sue the Man United legend for slander following his suggestion that players had been omitted from the Euro 2016 squad on racial grounds.

Didier Deschamps to sue Eric Cantona over racism accusation
FRANCK FIFE AFP

France coach Didier Deschamps is pursuing legal action against Eric Cantona following remarks made by the eccentric Manchester United legend about the French coach’s decision to leave Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa from his Euro 2016 squad.

According to Deschamps’ lawyer, the 47-year-old manager will sue his one-time international team-mate for slander.

In a candid interview with The Guardian on Thursday Cantona suggested that Deschamps had snubbed Benzema and Ben Arfa from his 23-man squad because of their 'north African origins'.

'We are going to file a complaint for slander,' Deschamps' lawyer, Carlo Alberto Brusa stated.

'These words are unacceptable, unworthy and Cantona brings shame on France, the French people and the France team which is the epitome of diversity. To bring up north African origins is to deny that the two players are French.'

Deschamps jokes with Paul Pogba at the end of a training session.

Cantona, who won 45 caps for France between 1987 and 1995, has in the past been very critical of his former teammate Deschamps, who in 1996 he branded a 'vulgar water carrier'.

The former Marseille and Leeds United striker retired in 1997 before taking up a career in cinema. In 2007 he married Franco-Algerian actress Rachida Brakni.

Eric Cantona in a recent appearance lamenting Man United's appointment of Mourinho

The exclusion of Benzema, of Algerian descent, follows his implication in an alleged attempt by one of his friends to blackmail international teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

Ben Arfa, of Tunisian origins, had been hopeful of making the squad after relaunching his career at Nice but instead had to settle for a place on Deschamps's standby list of eight players.