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Friday, 17 December 2010

Lilian Thuram quits French Football Federation

A sad day for French football after one of its most eloquent and frank spokesmen quits the sport's governing body here, la Fédération Française de Football (the French Football Federation, FFF).

Lilian Thuram (screenshot from TF1 after France's World Cup debacle)

The FFF's interim president Fernand Duchaussoy confirmed on Wednesday that Lilian Thuram had handed in his resignation after just two years as a council member saying that the former international hadn't felt particularly happy in a purely administrative role.

"He has wanted to leave the council for a couple of months now," Duchaussoy told RTL national radio

"He told me he still wanted to work with the FFF but in an area in which he excels and enjoys, namely in a 'social role'."

Although he hasn't yet spoken publicly about the reasons for his departure, the writing has been on the proverbial wall since France's World Cup fiasco in South Africa.

Of that now infamous strike he said that it had "awakened the underlying racism in society" and said the then-captain, Patrice Evra, should never play for France again.

He warned at the time that, "If there are no sanctions, I shall resign."

And he hasn't shied away from criticising some of the decisions made by the recently-appointed coach of the national side, Laurent Blanc.

Thuram is France's most-capped international player and was of course a member, along with Blanc, of the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winning sides.

The 38-year-old played at the highest club level in France, Italy and Spain, before being forced to "hang up his boots" two years ago after a health scare.

He has long been politically and socially active particularly in campaigning against racism in football and became a member of France's Haut Conseil à l'intégration (High Council for Integration) while still a top defender.

Among his many activities he currently serves on the board of the L'Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques. and in October was appointed as a Unicef ambassador to Haïti

Most famously perhaps back in November 2005 in response to the then-interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy's description of youngsters after they burned cars and attacked police and public buildings in two weeks of rioting in various parts of France Thuram said, "If they are scum, then so am I."


Anonymous said...

I'm sure Thuram would not have been caught with his pants down the way Frank Ribery was with the infamous Zahia!

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