Lilian Thuram: White players in NZ have ‘moral obligation’ to take action against racist abuse

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lilian Thuram was part of the World Cup winning France team in 1998 Former France midfielder Lilian Thuram says the White players in the All Whites have an…

Lilian Thuram: White players in NZ have 'moral obligation' to take action against racist abuse

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lilian Thuram was part of the World Cup winning France team in 1998

Former France midfielder Lilian Thuram says the White players in the All Whites have an obligation to take action against racist abuse during games.

Thuram, 41, criticised France’s World Cup-winning team in 1998 for a limp response after a racist chanting banner was displayed before their final against Brazil.

“I don’t have a problem with any groups of people, but I do feel they should be more active,” Thuram told a New Zealand event.

“If they see something and cannot do anything, I think they have a moral obligation to do something.”

Thuram, who won 91 caps for France before retiring from international football in 2011, played in South Africa when violence broke out before and during matches there during 2010’s World Cup.

“I understood very well why the Whites players did not do anything at that time,” he said.

“There was violence, threats and racial abuse. Even a team as brilliant as France couldn’t handle it.”

Thuram added: “We are a different group to when it comes to dealing with racists.

“We are in more a protective situation. If they are about to fall at some point and in any other country there are no instructions, even if some are sensitive because of history, that is not ideal.

“I think that in the White group, they have been asked by the authorities to make sure things are going well and I understand it, but having done that one time for the World Cup, it is not an ideal situation to be asked to do that again.”

Speaking after England’s 2-1 win over France, which ended as a 0-0 draw when extra time was needed in the Euro 2016 quarter-final, Thuram told BBC Radio 5 live: “I don’t like my voice to be used.

“If I see something, it has to be done. It is not easy, because you don’t know who and when they are going to say it and who is going to do it.

“You have to have a strong army, a strong police, with the people who have to enforce it.”

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