Minister told off for World Cup dig

Sports Secretary's comments about 'flashiness' of French football team's hotel were ill-judged, says Health Minister.

6 June 2010

FRANCE'S Sports Secretary has been accused of failing to get behind the national football team after she criticised their choice of hotel for the World Cup as too "flashy".

Rama Yade said in a radio interview that she felt the luxury Pezula Resort in South Africa, with a private beach and panoramic views out to the Indian Ocean, was an inappropriate choice for Les Bleus in the economic context.

"Personally, I wouldn't have chosen this hotel," she told Radio J, urging the French football federation to "show decency" and noting that Spain's team is staying on a university campus.

"If France goes a long way [in the tournament] the choice of a site offering the best training conditions will appear wise. But if results do not come up to expectations then those in charge will have some explaining to do."

"I hope that the French team wow us with their results rather than the flashiness of their hotels."

Ms Yade's immediate boss, Health and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot, said now was "not the time to be starting a controversy" and the team needed to know they had the public's support.

"The French Football Federation made a choice - and it is not costing taxpayers a centime," she told RTL.

Les Bleus arrived at their hotel on Saturday and are preparing for their first World Cup match against Uruguay on Friday afternoon. They will then play Mexico on June 17 and host nation South Africa on June 22.

Judge for yourself: the French team's hotel in pictures

Related stories:
Little chance of World Cup glory
France gets boost from Euro 2016
Footballers lose €30m tax break

Photo:Marie-Lan Nguyen

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