Deschamps to take legal action against Cantona

Didier Deschamps - cropped
The French coach's representative Carlos Brusa has suggested the 1998 World Cup winning captain will take legal action against Eric Cantona for his recent comments

Didier Deschamps' lawyer has confirmed the France coach will pursue legal action against Eric Cantona after the former Manchester United forward suggested Hatem Ben Arfa and Karim Benzema had been omitted from Les Bleus' squad for Euro 2016 due to their African heritage.

Benzema has been the subject of a legal investigation into an alleged plot to blackmail fellow international Mathieu Valbuena, resulting in him being suspended from international football since December.

Meanwhile, former Newcastle United playmaker Ben Arfa is set to miss out despite scoring 17 Ligue 1 goals to fire Nice to fourth place.

Asked whether he thought Deschamps' decision was motivated by discrimination, Cantona told the Guardian: "Maybe no, but maybe yes. Why not? 

"One thing is for sure – Benzema and Ben Arfa are two of the best players in France and will not play the European Championship. And for sure, Benzema and Ben Arfa, their origins are north African. So, the debate is open."

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The France Football Federation and Deschamps did not respond to Cantona's comments when contacted by Perform, but the coach's lawyer Carlos Brusa confirmed to L'Equipe that his client was going to take the matter further.

Brusa said: "I will initiate action before the civil and criminal courts to punish these slanderous and defamatory comments that infringe impermissibly on Mr Deschamps' integrity."