France’s World Cup win a triumph for diversity
2018-07-15 14:58:19 -

The 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia has come and gone, and its immediate legacy is a light shone on diversity by way of the tournament winners.

But far from the cohesive unit of its national soccer team, France has a disastrous record when it comes to the integration of minorities in its communities.


France’s colonial-era policy of assimilation mandated people of other cultures to behave like French people. That policy, which persists today, has had catastrophic consequences since its inception.


As recent as last year, it was blamed for widespread riots in February and March 2017, promoted by alleged abuse of powers by French police in the handling of two separate ethnic-related incidents.


However, it certainly seems that when it comes to soccer, France is getting things right. Ethnicity, colour, and religion appear to have not played a role in team selection. One can argue that only talent, skills and merit were on display.


Victory was assured on Sunday 15 July with goals from Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, each from diverse backgrounds. With their teammates, they beat Croatia 4-2 in Moscow in what has been described by some as the best ever Fifa World Cup final.


The French team’s success goes a long way in reinforcing the message that diversity is an advantage to any society. It also presents a challenge to the FAI, which seems to be lacking in any commitment to scouting new talent from among Ireland’s various migrant communities, players who could potentially play pivotal roles in building a formidable — and winning — national team.

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