Emmanuel Petit has raised potentially the most interesting talking point of the weekend, suggesting that France’s World Cup win in 1998 may have been fixed.
The former Arsenal and Chelsea man is no stranger to controversy, but his latest comments are likely to be met with surprise by most associated with the French Football Federation.
In the midst of corruption revelations that have rocked FIFA to the core in recent weeks, Petit has admitted that he has pondered his team’s famous victory on home soil shortly before the turn of the millennium, labelling his former teammates ‘puppets’.
“For the past few weeks I’ve been asking myself 'Did we really win the World Cup?' I ask myself that question today. Was it fixed?” Petit said in an interview, as relayed by the Daily Mirror.
“I have no idea. On the pitch we gave it everything. We truly gave it everything against our opponents, we did everything to win.”
It was Petit who added the third goal in the final of that tournament, rounding off a sensational 3-0 beating of Brazil in Paris to secure the World Cup for the first time in the nation’s history.
French players 'puppets'?
However, France’s win over their South American opponents was shrouded in at least a little controversy, with the talismanic Ronaldo suffering a convulsive fit on the day of the final and struggling throughout the game.
In Petit’s eyes, though the French players did nothing wrong, they may have been mere puppets in a much wider, more sinister plot.
“Weren’t we puppets? Haven’t we always only and solely been puppets, keeping the economy moving, and don't worry about anything else.
“Today I ask myself that question, did we really win the World Cup in 1998? Myself, I believe we did. In any case us, the players, we did everything for that.
A very big claim
"Beyond that, if there was anything else or not, I don’t know – but I do ask myself the question. It’s been 17 years since we won the World Cup, and for the last few weeks I do ask myself that question.”
Naturally a suggestion of this magnitude is bound to garner international attention, so don’t be surprised to see far more said on the matter in the coming days and weeks.
Do you think there’s a chance FIFA was so corrupt as to fix World Cups? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box provided.