FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED and French international footballer Eric Cantona is reportedly seeking a nomination to run for the Presidency of France.
A report carried by the left-wing daily newspaper Libération suggests Cantona has written to the country’s mayors – of which there are about 36,000 – seeking their nomination to run in the election, to be held on April 22.
The letter, published in full by Libération, detail how Cantona wants to “carry a simple but clear message – a message of truth but of respect, a powerful message of solidarity”.
I am a concerned citizen. [...] I speak today more seriously than usual, but with a keen sense of my responsibility at a time when our country is in front of difficult choices and determining its future.
That commitment makes me turn to you because you are in the public; you occupy a major role in the everyday life of your citizens, our fellow citizens; you are a strong link of trust in politicians, in the future our institutions, and social ties that you help to build day after day, month after month, year after year.
If you give me your initials, I shall bring this powerful idea, with many others as determined as me, and I will do on your behalf.
The letter is published on a letterhead reading ‘Eric Cantona: Engaged citizen’.
To run in the election, candidates are required to pick up the nomination of 500 eligible elected officials, of which there are around 45,000 – with the majority of them mayors.
Though Cantona is better known these days as an actor – appearing, most notably, as himself in Ken Loach’s film Looking For Eric – he has not left football entirely, and is currently the general manager of the largely-defunct New York Cosmos outfit.
He is not entirely apolitical, however – his website currently hosts a petition for better housing conditions, and he made headlines in December 2010 when he called on the French public to hold a co-ordinated run on the country’s banks.
Cantona scored 64 times in 144 appearances during his five years at Manchester United, having previously played for Leeds United.
He also scored 20 times in 45 appearances for the French national team, which he had captained before serving an eight-month suspension for assaulting a Crystal Palace fan at a United game in January 1995. He never again played for les bleus after his suspension.