“The France team that won the 1998 World Cup was hailed as a symbol of a new harmonious multiracial nation. But now the country is racked by riots and football has become a racial battleground. Andrew Hussey, in Paris, speaks to the heroes of the World Cup-winning team and traces how the dream of 98 became a nightmare of violence and fear.”
From The Observer:
It is now less than eight years since Didier Deschamps, the stand-in captain of the France football team, held the World Cup before an exultant crowd in the Stade de France. But the triumph of his team, such a symbol of progressive multiculturalism, seems already to belong to another era. This much was clear to me on a cold night in early March this year in the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. I was there to watch Paris Saint-Germain take on Olympique de Marseille, in the so-called Derby de France, which is traditionally the biggest and most hard-fought event in the French footballing calendar.
There is a long history of rivalry and, more latterly, violence between their supporters, who between them represent the two polarities of French life: the hard-headed metropolitan arrogance of Paris and the freewheeling, exhibitionism of the Mediterranean south.
More here. [Thanks to Mark Blyth.]