Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The coach Youcef Bettahar has just resigned from his position at the E. S. Fameck football club in Lorrain, France. An interview he gave with the local newspaper is very revealing about the state of 'community relations' in France.
...Newspaper clippings tell the story of how "it made football into a social cement, bringing communities together, calming spirits, raising the enthusiasm of an entire city in 2006 by winning the Lorraine Cup then, in 2008, getting into the Honour Division." One of the Football Foundation's leading clubs, cited as an example all the way to Paris ..."We pulled off something really remarkable there," admits Youcef Bettahar not without a trace of pride. "Black Blanc Beur" [Black White Arab, a phrase proudly applied to the French team that won the World Cup] football took on its full meaning here, its full dimension. "We put in place a network linking the primary schools, the police. We worked in a logic of dialogue, openness."

Playing mechanically with his mobile phone, he goes on: "That was before. Before communitarianism emerged. (sigh). I was accused of having too many French people in my teams ..." And to cut it short: "I can hear a lot of things but I can't accept the idea that freedom is in danger. Even if it's located in a Sensitive Urban Zone, the stadium should remain an oasis."
Source: Républicain Lorrain Via




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