Bordeaux Coach Willy Sagnol Apologises for ‘African’ Remark

Henry Samuel, Telegraph, November 6, 2014

The coach of Bordeaux football club has denied accusations of racism after sparking an angry row by saying that “typical African” players are “powerful” but lacking “technique, intelligence and discipline”.

Willy Sagnol’s remarks in a regional newspaper drew widespread condemnation and split the football world, prompting the former player on Thursday to apologise for his “imperfect semantics” and say he had been misunderstood.

The row erupted after Mr Sagnol gave an interview in Sud Ouest newspaper in which he said: “The advantage of the typical African player is that he’s not expensive, is generally up for a fight, someone you could qualify as powerful on the pitch. But football isn’t only that … it’s also about technique, intelligence and discipline. You need a bit of everything.”

The comments came three years after former French football coach, Laurent Blanc, was cleared of wrongdoing in the row over claims he wanted to impose secret quotas to limit the number of black and north African-origin players on the national team.

Mr Blanc had reportedly favoured the idea of quotas and made comments about “big, strong, powerful” black players. The transcript showed him favouring players with “our culture, our history”.

Reacting to the fresh controversy, anti-racism groups Licra and SOS Racisme, along with Liliam Thuram–Mr Sagnol’s former team-mate in the French side–slammed the remarks as “prejudice” at best, and “ordinary racism” at worst.

In a tribune in Le Monde newspaper, Pape Diouf, the Senegalese-born former coach of Olympique Marseille, called on all players from Africa or of African origin playing in France to boycott matches for a day to “break this routine (racism)”.

Louis Saha, a former French international striker, said he was “surprised and shocked” by the comment, while the ruling Socialist Party called on the French Football Federation to sanction Mr Sagnol.

But many in the football sphere defended the coach, with Noël Le Graët, FFF president, dismissing the remark as “clumsy”, while his Bordeaux club president, Jean-Louis Triaud, said the row was “totally unjustified”.

“This must stop, really. All those who know Willy Sagnol know that he is anything but racist. The interpretation of his words is totally wrong.”

Senegalese national player and Bordeaux captain, Lamine Sané, also supported his manager, saying : “We know the man and he is someone very good.”

The head of the French foundation for the memorial of black slavery, Karfa Diallo, also leapt to his defence, saying the remarks were “more clumsy than racist”.

“I think above all Willy Sagnol wanted to say that training centres in Africa privilege power, combativeness and individuality over technique and the intelligence of collective play,” he said.

On Thursday, Mr Sagnol called a press conference to say: “If through my lack of clarity and imperfect semantics, I made people feel shocked, humiliated or hurt, I am sorry.”

Insisting the remarks were”purely about sport, and in no way political or societal”, the coach said: “Given that we were talking about football, the intelligence I mentioned was obviously tactical intelligence. In no way was I talking about intelligence in the literal sense of the word, concerning individuals.”

He added: “I’m 37 years old, and have spent 32 of them in football changing rooms. I’ve never had a problem with anyone.”

However, Mr Diouf said he was not satisfied. “It’s very easy to say it was a clumsy remark to save private Sagnol”.

“But Sagnol at root is only one part of a huge machine that rejects, that leaves no place for the many men coming from Africa.”

“We need a proper reform in football, just as we need one for the rest of French society,” he told France Inter.

“What’s happening in football is exactly what we see in French society more and more–this uninhibited way of talking that people are proud of means anything is allowed.”

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  • “No intelligence,” “no discipline,” “African.” Gee, why would anyone think such a silly thing like all three of these concepts belonging in the same sentence?

    If French soccer needs anything, it’s more actual French players.

    • Pathfinder75

      “If French soccer needs anything,it’s more actual French players.”

      And less groveling from it’s weak-minded coaches.

      • ElComadreja

        Once again they surrender.

    • phillyguy

      French soccer teams are full of North African Muslims

  • superlloyd

    “typical African” players are “powerful” but lacking “technique, intelligence and discipline”. He only stated the self evident facts but later backtracked like so many who are put under intense pressure to repent or lose all.

    Hopefully, more people are learning to read between the lines of trial by media.

    • Pathfinder75

      “trial by media.”

      More like BRAINWASHING by media.

  • MekongDelta69

    What’s that smell?
    It’s sooooo familiar.
    I KNOW I know that smell…
    .
    .
    AH YES,

  • Truthseeker

    In a tribune in Le Monde newspaper, Pape Diouf, the Senegalese-born
    former coach of Olympique Marseille, called on all players from Africa
    or of African origin playing in France to boycott matches for a day to
    “break this routine (racism)”.

    How about all non-French boycott French soccer permanently? France should be represented by actual French people, not Africans with French citizenship.

    • benvad

      Right on brother Right On!!

  • TheDude

    French patriots should boycott soccer until it becomes majority-French again.

    • Samuel Hathaway

      Fancy that…. the French national team is 90% black and North African? That’s sounds a lot like the U.S. Olympic basketball team, which btw, I always hoped would LOSE.

      • TheDude

        “the French national team is 90% black and North African?”

        Yup.

        And ditto.

        • benvad

          The one Frenchman looks like Frankenstein and is a convert to Islam (Biggest threat to the republic)

      • newscomments70

        They did lose to Lithuania in 2004. I cheered for Lithuania, it felt like the good side won. I’m not Lithuanian…I was just cheering for those who look like me. Liberal media constantly baragges us with disgusting messages that blacks are strong and whites are weak and pathetic. F- them, they were wrong. Blond haired whites can beat blacks, even at their best sport. And i don’t hate the black basketball players, but they should be playing basketball for Africa.

        • Samuel Hathaway

          Yes, that’s it… I remember something about Lithuania giving the U.S. team a real battle sometime.thought it was in 2008 but didn’t watch it. Glad Lithuania won. My moms best friend in the neighborhood where we grew up was Lithuanian, so I was glad for her.

          • newscomments70

            I certainly wouldn’t be chanting “USA”. I would be supporting my own people. If there were a black African hockey team, African Americans would be cheering for them while they played against the mostly white US team. (which is understandable) Borders no longer determine patriotism.

        • benvad

          I even cheered for the Boston Celtics when Bird was there and I’m a Canadian and we’re not really basketball fans. I did it because it was whites humiliating Blacks and I enjoyed it.

          • ElComadreja

            The Celtics won 16 championships when they were the whitest team in the league.

          • newscomments70

            Kevin Mchale (white) played on that team as well. I saw them play at the Garden in the 80s against Chicago Bulls when Micheal Jordan was with them. I didn’t think in terms of black and white at that time. I wasn’t race realist yet.

          • benvad

            I think I just bonded with them instinctively. Blood really is thicker than water.

          • newscomments70

            Well, that was several years ago. They are legends though

        • ElComadreja

          Whites have superior strength especially in the upper body when compared to blacks.

      • B.A_2014

        That is why the French team is woeful. They’ll never be as good as the Platini generation. The only reason they won the world cup is because they had the Berber Zidane in their team. He is still in my eyes the greatest player that graced the game.

        • TheDude

          Zidane at least looked fairly white.

          • benvad

            They’re still the biggest plague against France. Don’t let there eternal victims fool you, alright.

            Should’ve cleansed that region when they conquered it.

          • TheDude

            You mean North Africa or the sub-Sahran Africa?

    • benvad

      Italians boo the hell out of the Ghanaian import masquerading as a Sicilian.

  • A man who can’t speak his mind is no better than a slave. A man who risks his job, career, and reputation for speaking the truth is no better than a slave. Down with slavery! Well, down with white slavery anyway.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    “I think above all Willy Sagnol wanted to say that training centres in Africa privilege power, combativeness and individuality over technique and the intelligence of collective play,” he said.

    “Given that we were talking about football, the intelligence I mentioned was obviously tactical intelligence. In no way was I talking about intelligence in the literal sense of the word, concerning individuals.”

    This is hilarious! Obviously, what has their knickers in a twist is the IQ issue! I think they doth protest a tad too much.

    Ya don’t think that blacks might have a reputation for low intelligence, do you? Nahhh, that can’t be it. Must be something else.

    And rather than being “clumsy,” the coach’s remarks were obviously very tactful and carefully worded, being careful to avoid saying that blacks might actually be *GASP!* less intelligent than whites.

    Yet still it ignites a firestorm of controversy. I wonder what everyone has their knickers so in a twist about? Hmmmm….

  • Pathfinder75

    I wish public figures like Coach Sagnol would stop offering pointless apologies for what are truly innocuous opinions.The only effect these cowardly mea culpas will ever have on their Cultural Marxist accusers,will be to further embolden them in their ongoing war against us Whites.

    • Anna Tree

      Once in a while Mea Culpas could embolden the enemy I agree, but when there are a few Mea Culpas every day, and hopefully more and more, the card castle can only crash down. A little boy saying “the Emperor has no clothe” can fasten the crash as well, that would be nice.

  • Samuel Hathaway

    Why is this coach being persecuted? Where’s the crime?

  • Mybad

    Jimmy the Greek redux. Everything he said is basically true. But those things can’t be said by whites.

  • B.A_2014

    The head of the French foundation for the memorial of black slavery, Karfa Diallo, also leapt to his defence, saying the remarks were “more clumsy than racist”.

    Just another way of saying “a s$$t load of angry white hating angry black people looking for a hand out”.

  • adplatt126

    Disgusting, deplorable, racist and oh yeah, big surprise… completely freakin’ right!