the France team is approaching the 2022 World Cup in a tense context

the France team is approaching the 2022 World Cup in

Cascading injuries, tensions over the issue of the image rights of players of the France team, an extortion case targeting their star Paul Pogba, accusations of harassment at the French Football Federation… At two months of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Blues approach their next two matches and this World Cup in a tense context.

In the history of modern football, two years have been particularly traumatic for this sport, in France: 1993 with the Marseille-Valenciennes corruption affair and the non-qualification of the Blues for the 1994 World Cup; and 2010, with the players’ strike in Knysna, in the middle of the South African World Cup.

Will 2022 be the new “annus horribilis” of French football? This will partly depend on the performance of the French team at the next World Cup, scheduled for November 20 to December 18 in Qatar.

But to defend the title won in 2018 in Russia, the selection led by Didier Deschamps will have to deal with an exceptional series of sporting obstacles and extra-sporting crises.

Half-mast results and cascading injuries

On September 22, the France team faces Austria in Saint-Denis, and on September 25 Denmark in Copenhagen, in the League of Nations. A competition where it remains on two defeats and two draws and where it will especially try not to be relegated to the second division. A shame for the title holder.

►To (re) listen: League of Nations: time for redemption for the Blues

A mission all the more perilous as the French team will be deprived for the occasion of a rarely seen list of players: Hugo Lloris, Théo Hernandez, Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema, Presnel Kimpembe, Ngolo Kanté, Lucas Hernandez, Kingsley Coman, Adrien Rabiot, Boubacar Kamara, Ibrahima Konaté and Lucas Digne. What align a competitive eleven in Qatar.

We will adaptnevertheless promised captain Raphaël Varane. I believe there are 14 wounded. It’s quite huge! But don’t be surprised, we’ve been talking about overloaded calendars for years [de matches, NDLR]. This season, it’s even more intense than usual. »

Tensions around the Blues

Winning with five novices in the selection (Randal Kolo Muani, Youssouf Fofana, Alban Lafont, Benoît Badiashile and Adrien Truffert), while preparing for the 2022 World Cup, should therefore be Didier Deschamps’ only concern. But the coach saw another problem reappear: the frontal opposition between his superstar Kylian Mbappé and the French Football Federation (FFF) on the question of the image rights of players during commercial operations organized by the FFF. A subject on which the Paris Saint-Germain striker seems to have won, with the support of his teammates. ” There were talks to be hadsaid Raphaël Varane. As a group, collectively, we want to enforce the individual image rights of each player. It is a legitimate and logical request. »

The defender was also questioned at a press conference, this September 21, 2022, about his teammate Paul Pogba. The 29-year-old midfielder is at the heart of a sordid €13million attempted extortion case. A scandal that involves one of his brothers, Mathias Pogba, indicted like four other people. An embarrassing record for the Juventus Turin player, who is desperately trying to recover for the World Cup. ” I won’t talk about the legal part, but as a person he is a friend and I support himcommented Varane. Paul faces challenges, including this injury. We want to see him on the field, fulfilled. »

Crisis at the French Football Federation

Paul Pogba is however far from being the only player in French football at the heart of a judicial soap opera. On September 8, the magazine SoFoot published an investigation damning the president of the FFF, Noël Le Graët. Among other things, it mentions, on the basis of anonymous testimonies, the sending of SMS of a sexual nature to employees, many of whom felt ” sexually harassed, but also morally “. Qualified by the monthly as ” drifting boat “, between clan warfare and tensions at the top, the Federation has announced that it wants lodge a complaint against SoFoot for defamation.

On September 16, it was the Ministry of Sports which commissioned an audit mission within the all-powerful institution. Amelie Oudea-Castera recalled that it was imperative that the FFF continue its activities with absolute respect for all employees, regardless of their hierarchical level, and by actively ensuring the prevention and fight against all forms of discrimination and violence, especially sexist and sexual “Said a press release published in the wake of a meeting between the minister and Noël Le Graët.

To (re) read: Foot: new accusations of sexual abuse at the French Federation

A situation that French football would have done well with, while its fit man, Karim Benzema, favorite for the 2022 Ballon d’Or, was sentenced in November 2021 in a sextape blackmail case dating from 2015, and that one of the 2018 world champions, Benjamin Mendy, is at the heart of a trial in England on multiple rape charges.

“What interests me is what I have to do with my players”

Asked at a press conference about the difficulty of being responsible for football in the current context when we see what has been happening for 10 days, Didier Deschamps preferred to refocus the debate on his field: the field. ” The atmosphere is what it is. I focus on what is happening internally. I am cut off from the outside world. What interests me is what I see, what I have to do with my players… »