Carlo Ancelotti swaps French football for French politics

Apr 29, 2012
David Cairns

Paris Saint-Germain coach returns fire in war with presidential candidate Francois Hollande

FRANCE'S SOCIALIST party leader Francois Hollande may be in the lead in the race to be the country's next president but he may just have lost himself the support of the French football elite – and possibly its fans.

In an unsual case of football turning political, former Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti – who now coaches Paris Saint-Germain – used his routine press conference on Saturday afternoon as a platform to criticise Hollande and praise Sarko.

Ancelotti slammed Hollande's plans for 75 per cent taxation for those earning more than a million euros and praised his right-wing opponent. According to Le Parisien, Ancelotti said Sarko "connaît bien le système football" ("knows well how football works").

Ancelotti's unprecedented intervention into French politics was not entirely unexpected: Hollande cast the first stone with a jibe about Ancelotti's six million euro salary levelled against the Italian on Friday.

Interviewed about his tax proposals, Hollande said: "I have learned that the coach, or athletic director, of Paris Saint-Germain earns six million euros a year. Do Paris Saint-Germain's results justify paying its director as much as that?"

In fact, PSG currently sit second-from-top of Ligue 1 – the country's premier football league – and are in with a chance of taking the top spot before the end of the season.

Hollande, for his part, won the first round of voting in the presidential elections, with 28.63 per cent of the vote, compared to nearest rival Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent seeking a second and final term, who polled 27.18 per cent.

But that result was not enough of a majority for Hollande to walk into office and he now faces a second round of voting, to be held next Sunday. The latest opinion polls suggest that he will clinch the election.

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