Andre Vallini, the secretary of state for Francophony, said the French Football Federation's decision to choose a cover of “I Was Made for Lovin' You” performed by the French group (with an English name) Skip The Use was “very concerning”.
“Euro 2016 will be a great festival of sport which is taking place in France and will therefore project the image of our country abroad. And our language too!
“It is therefore incomprehensible that the anthem of the French national team should be in English,” Vallini said.
The song, originally performed by American rock veterans Kiss, has been renamed “I Was Made for Lovin' You, My Team” for the tournament.
Skip The Use's lead singer Mat Bastard said the group was asked to record the song ahead of others by French singers Charles Trenet and Jean-Jacques Goldman “because it was the song which meant the most to us”.
The guitarist Yann said there was no need to over react and that all that matters was whether the supporters liked the song or not.
The Local's readers suggested the real controversy was not so much the language but the actual choice of anthem.
I have heard “I Was Made For Lovin You Baby” at so many crappy french discos. This is entirely appropriate. https://t.co/bKb8gUWFfd
— Nathan Stewart (@nathanjstewart) May 2, 2016
A Kiss song?! That should be the center of the argument here. https://t.co/1OiCCPXPdM
— ChrisInParis (@ChrisInParis) May 2, 2016
Vallini also bemoaned the fact that France's entry in this year's Eurovision Song Contest, “J'ai cherche” by Amir, features a chorus largely in English.
“At a time when we are defending the place of the French language in international institutions, and especially European institutions… it is incomprehensible that for these two big popular events, the French language has lowered its guard,” he added.
Euro 2016 takes place from June 10 to July 10 while the Eurovision song contest takes place on May 14th.