‘Made in Thailand’ French strips anger minister

The fact the French national football team’s strip for the World Cup is 100 percent “Made in Thailand” has infuriated a French minister. He has called on the country’s football chiefs to come up with a “Made in France” version.

'Made in Thailand' French strips anger minister
Should the French national team wear "Made in France" strips? Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

When France’s national football team run out on to the pitch at the World Cup in Brazil this summer, their strip may look French, but in fact there’s nothing Gallic about it at all.

Like most clothing these days, the football shirts are made in the Far East, which has angered France’s number one economic patriot, the Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg.

The minister, who was behind the famous “Made in France” campaign to encourage the French to buy French-made goods, is furious at the lack of economic patriotism shown by the country's football federation (FFF).

“I am not happy. I don’t understand why we go to Thailand to make something that we can make very well in France,” he told RTL radio this week.

SEE ALSO: French hope coq switch brings World Cup glory

“The spirit of 'Made in France' is that all the forces of society and everyone gets involved,” Montebourg added. “The French people must do it on a daily basis to the level of their means and the French Football Federation has the means. So, really, I am not happy.”

Montebourg’s rant resulted in him being the subject of ridicule on Twitter, where he was accused of being behind the times and unrealistic. But he insisted on Friday that the FFF should at least “repatriate” part of the production process to companies in France.

He said football chiefs should negotiate with Nike, the team’s American sponsor, to use subcontractors in France.

And on Friday one French firm, Ultra Petita, based in Toulouse, showed exactly how it can be done by making a shirt for the minister with his name printed on the back.

“It’s magnificent,” said a delighted Montebourg on receiving the shirt.

But the reality is production costs in Thailand are much cheaper than in France. It costs Ultra Petita €21 to make the same shirt that costs Nike €5 to make in Thailand, Europe1 radio claimed on Friday.

Europe1 also notes that although Nike’s profit margins are high with the shirts priced at €85, some of that money is ploughed back into grass roots football, with the American sporting giant paying the FFF €42 million a year in sponsorship.

The French public, perhaps unsurprisingly, are backing Montebourg’s call with 78 percent of respondents to a survey saying it is “vital” that the shirts are made in France.

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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.