Le Graet slams Cantona over 'pathetic' Deschamps attack

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AFP
The former Manchester United star suggested the France boss had racial motives when selecting his squad, but the boss of the country's FA has defended the 1998 World Cup winner

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet has hit out at Eric Cantona over his "pathetic attack" aimed at national team coach Didier Deschamps.

Cantona suggested earlier this week that Hatem Ben Arfa and Karim Benzema had been omitted from Les Bleus' squad for Euro 2016 due to their African heritage.

Deschamps' lawyer Carlos Brusa has since confirmed that his client will pursue legal action against the former Manchester United star and Le Graet has now defended the France coach.

"I find his comments stupid. It is totally inappropriate on the eve of the Euros," Le Graet said at a news conference.

"Deschamps is a rigorous, frank, rightful and honest man.

"Anyone would have been upset with such an accusation. This is a pathetic attack. There have never been any doubts about Deschamps' morals throughout his career.

"I cannot even imagine Deschamps' decisions are based on anything else than sporting reasons.

"He does not deserve to be treated like this."

Benzema was ruled out of Euro 2016 in April pending the outcome of a legal investigation into an alleged plot to blackmail fellow international Mathieu Valbuena, which had seen him suspended from international duty in December.

Ben Arfa was selected among Deschamps' stand-by options after a remarkable resurgence in the 2015-16 season – in which he scored 17 Ligue 1 goals to fire Nice to fourth place.

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