Blues champions of the world… of business / Mondial 2002 / Fiasco des Bleus / Part 3/5 /

Jean de la Fontaine made fun of presumption, smugness and arrogance, often punished at the end of fables. It was in the perspective of a 2002 World Cup “won in advance” that France gave in to an irrepressible and unreasonable collective euphoria. To the point of greatly contaminating his beloved Blues, further intoxicated by excessive mercantile solicitations and trapped by their political instrumentalization…

“You were the one who had the idea for this whole circus? It’s completely stupid to have put this second star! Who do you think you are? We are not the dream-team! » Furax, Lilian Thuram apostrophes one of the marketing managers of Adidas. Just before the France-Belgium of May 18, 2002, their historic equipment supplier deployed in the bays of the Stade de France a huge blue jersey flocked with two stars! Some double world champion tunics are even ready to be marketed. On the eve of the departure of the French team to Japan, a whole country unites in the most joyful arrogance and megalomania…

England in 8are !

This unfriendly encounter won 2-1 by the over-motivated Red Devils and which interferes with the preparation of the already exhausted Blues gave rise to an endless post-match night ceremony: for this goodbye to the France team, 2000 extras decked out in red Coca-Cola formed a heart in the center of the lawn of the Stade de France around the 22 Blues mounted on a podium. This grotesque after-party comes to close an anarchic preparation course in Clairefontaine phagocytosed by the commercial partners of the FFF. During this “VIP week” (dixit Sagnol), the players had to go every day after the siesta to meet the televisions and the sponsors, wandering from tent to tent signing autographs. Their agents also present on site have already reserved rooms at the Seoul Sheraton where the reigning world champions will be staying… So enough is enough! This is why Lilian Thuram cracked up by insulting the spawn of Adidas. The hero of France-Croatia 1998 is one of the rare lucid tricolors to set himself up as a derisory rampart against the tsunami of national pretensions which has been sweeping since July 12, 1998. Lilian has tried to curb this blind supporter fervor amplified by sponsors and media. Same The Team, through its editorialist Christian Montaignac, conceptualized the “PPP” (“Permanent positive thought”) in order to exalt the supremacy of the Blues who have become almost invulnerable. The French team is our friends who we call by their nicknames: Titi, Trezegol, Nino (Wiltord), Zizou, The Snake (Djorkaeff), Pat, Manu, Marcelo, Francky, Thuthu, Fabulous Fab. Having become stars of people magazines, we even know their companions: Betty, Véronique, Adriana, Elsa, Agathe…

The World Cup draw made on 1er December 2001 placed France, seeded No. 1, in Group A with Senegal, Uruguay and Denmark? Fastoche! So France football is already planning on the round of 16 against England. In March 2002, 73% of French people still see their favorite world champions in Asia. Before France-Romania in February, Lilian nevertheless warned: “Imagining yourself making the pass of two, that’s really a fan thing! » The West Indian Cassandre added a layer before France-Russia on April 17: “Let us be careful not to fall into national euphoria. » Wasted effort ! In this month of May 2002, the publicist Jacques Séguéla held forth on the updated France 1998 slogan for the Asian campaign, “Victory is (always) within us” which according to him makes sense in this turbulent election year: “Victory is in us, in all of us. What can be said more beautiful to a people who doubt? » Canal+ is broadcasting at the same time Eyes in the Blues II (first part, The preparation) to the glory of the Eleven of France. This national euphoria contributed dangerously to extending the commercial influence of the merchants of the Temple, ever more eager to capitalize on the blue hen that lays the golden egg. In 2002, the advertising barnum that invades Clairefontaine at each gathering of the selected, and until the May internship, gives rise to comical partner tournaments between the teams of employees of France-Loisirs, Carrefour or Total-Elf…

The French team, advertising agency

Before France-Scotland in March 2002, the Pierre Pibarot training ground was even requisitioned for Johnny Hallyday’s music video! Because it obviously needed a very clumsy hymn to maintain the incandescent flame before the announced triumph. The atrocious song “All together” by Catherine Lara (“We are champions, we are all together / It’s the big game, France is standing”) will give the opportunity to Johnny, a fan of Zazie (he meant “Zizou” !), to kick off France-Russia… All together, it is also the name of the daily program of TF1, full and exclusive broadcaster of the competition and “official channel” of the Blues, which will be hosted by Flavie Flament and Jean-Pierre Pernaut, supposed to entertain France until 30 June, the day of the final in Yokohama… The FFF saw its advertising resources double between 1998 and 2002, thanks to around fifty partner companies and TV rights paid by TF1 and Canal +. The money is flowing! But the tragedy is that the Blues themselves participate fully in the media-commercial circus which diverts them more and more from their sporting objectives. It must be said that they receive up to 40% of the sums paid by advertisers.

For personal contracts: Zidane is Volvic, Liza is France Telecom, Pirès, Pétrole Hahn, Petit, Elsève Shampoo, etc. Marcel Desailly, often injured this season at Chelsea, sells his image and his status as captain to SFR in addition to hosting a show on TPS Star where he regularly interviews his French friends. Nobody raises the conflict of interest which turns to the privatization of the Blues for his personal benefit! Before his serious injury, Robert Pirès signed in insider des Bleus in early February 2002 for a program called Club Pires on Europe 1: “I do like Marcel” , he justifies himself… In view of the 1998 World Cup, Aimé Jacquet had demanded from his guys that they cease all media activity and that they settle their contractual situation in the club before the pre-competition course! Powerless observer of the great publicity circus of Clairefontaine before the departure for Japan, Roger Lemerre tries in vain to remobilize his guys monopolized by the promotional extrasport by invoking their ” duty of memory ” (sic): “They must remember how they conquered their first World Cup” … But the cash machine rules, fed by the myth of invincibility which authorizes the juiciest speculations. Before France-Scotland, we celebrate the France team 1994-2002, ranked second best selection of all time with only 8 defeats in 8 years, behind Hungary 1945-1956. Even the future is assured: our U17s were crowned world champions in 2001 and our Espoirs are the favorites for Euro 2002 (they will be finalists)! So some of our A’s may still find the time to go and sing the song on the Love United anti-AIDS led by Pascal Obispo. The leech Francis Lalanne, author of “To my friend the Kanak” dedicated to Karembeu, whistled at the Stade de France against Scotland, will command an official group of supporters around Operation Kop Korea!

Ambassadors in golden studs

The triumphs of 1998, 2000 and 2001 also placed the Blues in spite of themselves at the center of political issues whose influence has constantly increased. Representatives of a black-white-beur France with a planetary aura, it is as true ambassadors that they are sent around the world to exalt a certain French model, multikulti and universalist. In October 2000, their meeting with the charismatic Nelson Mandela eclipsed the insipid match against South Africa in Johannesburg (0-0). In September, in Chile, the Blues are received both as rockstars and as heads of state. In November, it is as a champion of happy globalization that “pushes us to open up to all horizons” that Roger Lemerre justifies the insane trip to Australia where the prestigious French team also partly alleviates the bad memories of our nuclear tests in the Pacific. Between Chile and Australia, on October 6, during the France-Algeria aborted by the invasion of the field, the Blues were instrumental in resolving problems of integration and diplomatic reconciliation between the two countries. Tired of having to treat the wounds of a sick society without their knowledge, they will show little eagerness to respond to the injunctions to block Jean-Marie Le Pen, who arrived on April 21 in the second round of the presidential elections. Their press release at least supporting republican values ​​will be published by the FFF on Friday May 3, two days before the second round.

The last straight line before the competition will offer a compendium of organizational, mercantile and megalomaniac nonsense. Just before leaving for Asia, the FFF and the Blues represented by Marcel Desailly finalize the bonus agreement. In the event of a final victory, they will receive around 1 million euros including a federal bonus of 305,000 euros per player (200,000 for a finalist place), plus an Adidas bonus of 150,000 euros as well as profit-sharing in marketing revenue. valued at 540,000 euros. Early elimination is not considered, so players won’t hit anything if they squirt in the first round. But what to fear? France, first in the FIFA rankings, with its three best scorers 2002 Henry-Trezeguet-Cissé is the number 1 favorite and won 3 to 1 by the London bookmakers. Six days before the World Cup, 68% of French people are still intoxicated by the dizzying volley of Zizou 1er against Leverkusen in the Champions League final (2-1) think she will be world champion. They dream of a final against Argentina, another serious contender for the title. Before leaving for Ibusuki, Aimé Jacquet was alarmed in France Soccer : “Around this team, there is a bit of bliss and sometimes a feeling of superiority” … Zidane’s injury in the ill-timed match against South Korea in Suwon on May 26 will put a damper on the French enthusiasm. This insane match will reveal, according to the JDD of the following June 16, a badly put together deal concluded in July 2001 by a greedy FFF for a ridiculous sum of 200,000 euros where the obligation to align our dear Zinédine was not even included in writing…

Relive the fiasco of the French team during the 2002 World Cup:

  • Part 1 : How the Blues messed up the 2000-2002 period
  • Part 2 : A problem named Roger Lemerre
  • Part 4: The defeat against Senegal and a catastrophic group stage
  • Part 5: A final crash in mondovision

    By Cherif Ghemmour

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