France star Thuram takes stand against far right ahead of elections

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Marcus Thuram;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Marcus Thuram</a> in action for France in a friendly against Canada last weekend (ROMAIN PERROCHEAU)
Marcus Thuram in action for France in a friendly against Canada last weekend (ROMAIN PERROCHEAU)

France forward Marcus Thuram on Saturday called on voters in the country to "fight" to stop the far right coming to power in upcoming snap elections.

Thuram is the first member of the France squad at Euro 2024 to take a clear position against the far-right National Rally (RN) ahead of legislative elections for the French National Assembly.

"I think the situation is sad and very serious," the 26-year-old forward with Italian champions Inter Milan told reporters in Paderborn, where the 2022 World Cup runners-up are based during the Euros in Germany.

President Emmanuel Macron has called elections with the first round set for June 30 and the second round on July 7.

He announced the snap poll last Sunday in response to the results of the EU elections, in which far-right parties -- including the top-scoring RN -- managed to take almost 40 percent of the vote in France.

The French squad, the majority of whom come from an immigrant background, had been playing a friendly match against Canada at the same time as Macron made his announcement.

"I heard about it after the match against Canada. We were all a bit shocked in the dressing room.

"We need to tell everyone to get out and vote, to fight every day to stop the RN winning," added Thuram, who is preparing with his teammates for their first European Championship game against Austria on Monday.

Other France players, notably Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud, had already publicly called on their compatriots to go out and vote in the elections, but had not taken as clear a stand as Thuram.

"I hope that everyone shares my opinion. It is not enough to say that you need to go out and vote. We need to explain how we have got to where we are," he said.

"I don't think it should be very difficult to talk about. It is the way I have been educated.

"I know a lot of people follow me on social media and I have an obligation to get certain messages across," added Thuram, whose father Lilian won the World Cup with France in 1998 and is well-known for his campaigning against racism.

"Having grown up with my father I feel a responsibility to get this message across."

Of his teammates in the France squad, Thuram added: "I have no doubt at all that everyone in the France squad thinks the same way as me.

"I am not here to force anyone to say anything even if it is what they think.

"Thanks to my father I have enough of an understanding of this situation to be able to talk about it."

Later Saturday, the French Football Federation (FFF) demanded the team not be subject "to any form of pressure and political use".

The FFF said that although they respected freedom of expression they "wish (their) neutrality to be respected by all... as well as that of the squad".