A court in Toulon has rejected David Ginola's claim for damages against former France coach Gerard Houllier over remarks concerning Ginola's role in France's failure to reach the 1994 World Cup.

"/> A court in Toulon has rejected David Ginola's claim for damages against former France coach Gerard Houllier over remarks concerning Ginola's role in France's failure to reach the 1994 World Cup.

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Ginola loses “bastard” defamation case

A court in Toulon has rejected David Ginola's claim for damages against former France coach Gerard Houllier over remarks concerning Ginola's role in France's failure to reach the 1994 World Cup.

Ginola loses

A court in Toulon on Wednesday rejected David Ginola’s claim for damages against former France coach Gerard Houllier over remarks concerning Ginola’s role in France’s failure to reach the 1994 World Cup.

Houllier had referred to Ginola as a “bastard” in a book and the former Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United winger was seeking 5,000 euros ($6,600) in damages for slander and defamation.

Ginola had pledged to give the money to a sporting association.

However, the court in Toulon found that the word used by Houllier could not be assessed in isolation from its context and also that it could not qualify for both slander and defamation at the same time.

“The court accepted that there were irregularities in the citation,” said judge Didier Guissard.

As a result of their procedural concerns, the court said they had not examined the substance of the case.

During a four-hour hearing, the judge attempted to broker a reconciliation between the two men but without success.

“They took me to the gallows,” said an emotional Ginola.

“My life boils down to 10 seconds of play and 18 years later, I’m treated as a pariah. Gerard Houllier says that I’m an idiot, a bastard, and that I committed a crime against the France team.”

Ginola’s lawyer, Jean-Claude Guidicelli, told AFP that his client was “surprised” by the decision but “will not initiate further proceedings”.

“For him, this decision is a judgment of Solomon — a drawn match with the ball in the middle,” he added.

Houllier’s comments about Ginola’s role in France’s 1993 defeat by Bulgaria appeared in a book written by two journalists, Christophe Daniel and Riolo Paillet, entitled ‘Secrets des Coachs’ (Coaches’ Secrets).

Ginola was widely vilified for an over-hit cross that led to Emil Kostadinov scoring an 89th-minute goal in a 2-1 win in Paris that took Bulgaria to the 1994 World Cup at France’s expense.

Houllier had claimed that Ginola was the victim of nothing more than an unfortunate choice of words.

“I never doubted his integrity,” said the former Liverpool and Lyon coach.

“If I regret anything, it is using the word ‘crime’ in place of ‘serious mistake’. There is no acrimony.”

FOOTBALL

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage

French prosecutors on Friday called for a 15-year prison sentence for one of two Russians accused of beating a British supporter during Euro 2016, an attack that left him with brain injuries.

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage
Russian fans light flares at the match against England in 2016.. Photo: AFP

One prosecutor, Christophe Raffin, asked for the “legal maximum… between 14 and 15 years” for Pavel Kossov, who is accused of throwing the first punch at 55-year-old Andrew Bache.

Bache was injured in the violence that broke out before England played Russia in the southern French port city of Marseille on June 11th, 2016.

The second Russian on trial in Aix-en-Provence, Mikhail Ivkine, stands accused of throwing a chair at the victim, with prosecutors asking for a potential suspended sentence of up to five years.

He has claimed he was defending himself.

“No, it wasn't legitimate self-defence, it was illegitimate use of force against Andrew Bache,” Raffin said of the violence.

 

Police give emergency aid to Andrew Bache following clashes in the city of Marseille. Photo: AFP

The prosecutors said the Russians were part of a group of about 150 men, many with martial arts training, who wrought havoc in Marseille.

Bache, from Portsmouth in southern England, has no memory of the events and is too frail to attend the trial.

His son Harry, who nurses his father, is representing him in court.

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