France player who laughed during minute’s silence for war victims apologizes for ‘nervous laugh’


PARIS — France defender Jean-Clair Todibo apologized Monday after he was filmed laughing during a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the war between Israel and Hamas and of a teacher killed in France by a suspected extremist.

The minute’s silence was held before France’s 2-1 win over the Netherlands on Friday in a European Championship qualifier.

Todibo said he had a “nervous laugh” after French media reported he had been asked by the French soccer federation’s ethics body to explain himself.

“I don’t think I’m a disrespectful guy when it comes to these things. I had a nervous laugh, but in no way was I making fun of the current situation,” he told journalists ahead of Tuesday’s friendly match against Scotland.

Todibo said that he was sitting in the stands, in the middle of opposing supporters.

“Some made jokes and I laughed nervously,” he said. “In no way was I making fun of the situation.”

France coach Didier Deschamps said Todibo came to see him to apologize, adding that the player had been “affected” by the controversy.

According to L’Equipe newspaper, the ethics body wrote to the Nice player to ask him to explain himself.

“We are officially asking Mr. Todibo for explanations of his incomprehensible attitude during the minute’s silence,” Patrick Anton, the president of the ethics body, was quoted as saying. ”If they are not satisfactory, we will refer his case to the French federation’s disciplinary committee.”

Todibo, who received a late call-up by Deschamps following the withdrawal of Arsenal defender William Saliba, did not play against the Netherlands. Deschamps said he remained available for the match against Scotland in the northern city of Lille.

Image credits: AP

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