A comment heralding the multicultural French World Cup winners has provoked an online debate about racism and immigration.
Shortly after France beat Croatia on Sunday, Khaled Beydoun an American author on Islamophobia, called for justice for the diverse team.
The post has been retweeted more than 163,000 times and gained 370,000 likes since being posted on Sunday following France’s 4-2 victory.
The French team is being recognised as one of the most multicultural teams in the competition – 15 out of the 23 players in the national squad can trace their heritage back to Africa, mainly from French colonies.
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Many people on social media were keen to point out that despite their African roots, the men were ‘first and foremost French‘, while others blasted Beydoun for using sport to score political points.
Some believed the tweet would harm race relations in a country where the issue is already controversial following the recent migrant crisis and a number of terror attacks.
It is the second time France has won the World Cup. Before the team’s win in 1998 the far right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen had criticised some of its players including Zinedine Zidane, who has Algerian heritage.
He had claimed many of them were ‘foreigners who were not singing the national anthem before matches’. This year there has been a notable silence from the far right corners of the French political spectrum.
This Twitter user said he hoped France’s 2018 win would help change attitudes.
‘Justice’ for multi-racial World Cup winners