“They need to exist, you have to understand them.”
“France make anthem threat to fans,” from the BBC, October 15 (thanks to all who sent this in):
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.”…
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.”…
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.”