In an interview, the former France international and reportedly only black manager in Ligue 1, after Bastia fired Claude Makelele on monday, said: “Let me be clear, I am not the spokesperson for anyone, I speak for myself only. I feel humiliated and hurt by his comments.”
We talk about blunder but this is a stupid mistake. I am waiting to see his reaction [in this afternoon’s press conference].”
“What he said is serious. I can not accept being told that an African player is cheaper. When you’re a coach, you have to speak of equity, equality and collectivity. We don’t differentiate players. When you’re a coach, you pay attention.”
A number of left wing politicians in the country have also joined their voices to the criticism after the Bordeaux manager African players lack intelligence and discipline.
The political party Parti Socialist (PS) called on the French Football federation (FFF) to sanction the 37 year-old.
“He should be sanctioned by the FFF and, if this is a blunder, as Mr. Graët, President of the FFF, said, then he should explain and publicly apologise” said PS spokesperson Carlos Da Silva.
PS deputy of Val d’Oise Philippe Doucet took the social media network Twitter to show his dismay.
“I condemn the ordinary and unacceptable racism of Willy Sangol: the FFF needs to give a political response”
The French journalist and founder of the left-wing political party Martinican Independence Movement (MIM) Audrey Pulvar called the French coach is a “medium of unbearable clichés”.
Aquitaine’s socialist regional counselor Naïma Charaï also expressed her astonishment and dismay at Sagnol’s words and said: “I hope these remarks – which consider that the skin colour is an element that characterises the quality of a player – are a blunder rather than a way of thinking”
FFF President backs Sagnol
The former Les Blues start, in charge of Bordeaux, has since apologised to his players and explained the context in which his comments were made, said the club’s Senegalese forward Henri Saivet.
“There were questions at first, because we didn’t know exactly the context in which the remarks were made” said the 24 year-old.
“We work with him on a daily basis, we know his convictions and we know he is not racist.
“He explained how things went and apologised. To us, the case is closed”.
FFF President Noël Le Graët has also backed the former France international saying at the most this is a case of “blunder” and not racism.
“I have known him for two or three years. I can say that he is a person that honours French football.” he stressed.
Sagnol’s comments come after, in May 2011, the website Mediapart reported that senior heads of the French national team, including the then national team manager Laurent Blanc, had allegedly approved a system to limit black players and those of north African origin on youth training schemes to make the French team more white.