Soccer is the French “national” sport. It is and has always been very important in France: we really live soccer. The proof is that, after the last World Cup in South Africa, from the chaos that was brought about at the defeat of the team, the French government had to intervene.
There have been many controversies about the French national soccer team last year, and especially during the spring and summer. Maybe too many: the (too) luxurious and expensive hotel of the players, the bad attitude of some players, the insults of one of those players, Nicolas Anelka, against the national selector Raymond Domenech in the half-time of the game of France-Mexico, the strike of the players during the World Cup itself… And the list is not exhaustive. So, you can imagine what the reactions were in France after all that. Nicolas Sarkozy asked for “des états généraux du football français” (to rebuild the whole system) and the case of the French team has been discussed at the National Assembly. The terrible humiliation of the French soccer team has been shared by the whole country. That’s why the government decided to act. They didn’t want the national soccer team to tarnish the image of the country. But the FIFA didn’t liked this state intervention. Sepp Blater (the FIFA president) warned Nicolas Sarkozy that there should be no intervention of the government in the business of the French Federation of Soccer (FFF). After of all these controversies, the French soccer team is now trying to rebuild itself and to restore its image.