Why are there so many black footballers on the French national team?

Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by Alex PT

There are a number of reasons why there are so many black footballers on the French national team, including the large population of black people in France, the strong tradition of football in France, and the commitment of the French Football Federation to diversity.

Why are there so many black footballers on the French national team?

black footballers on the French national team
  1. Diverse Ethnic Backgrounds:
    The presence of many black footballers in the French national team can be attributed to France’s complex historical relations with several African countries. This has resulted in a rich pool of diverse ethnic backgrounds that make up the French population, consequently reflected in the composition of the sports teams, including football.
  2. Dual Citizenship:
    The dual citizenship laws in France allow individuals from French overseas territories and former French colonies to hold French nationality. This means talented footballers hailing from these regions can represent France in international competitions.
  3. Integration through Football:
    Football has proven to be an effective means of integrating minority groups into mainstream society. For the black community in France, football provides an avenue to showcase their talent at a national and international stage while embracing their French identity.
  4. Scouting and Training Talent:
    France has a robust scouting and youth development program that identifies and nurtures talent from all backgrounds. The French Football Federation’s extensive network reaches deep into the culturally diverse suburbs, thus giving black footballers an equal opportunity to develop their skills.
  5. A Reflection of Society:
    The multicultural representation in the French national team mirrors the diversity in French society. The modern French identity embraces multiculturalism, which is reinforced by the composition of their sports teams.
  6. Success from Diversity:
    France’s World Cup victory in 1998 with a multi-ethnic team marked a turning point in acknowledging the benefits of diversity in football. Since then, the inclusion of black footballers has been viewed as a positive influence that contributes to the overall success of the team.

What is the reason behind having many black players on the French national team?

black players on the French national team

For historic reasons, France is known for its strong mixture of races and cultures. Black players in the French national team are mostly born and raised in France but might be from parents of different nationalities. For more clarity, a few reasons why black players are usually present in high numbers in the French football national teams are highlighted and discussed below.

  • The history of colonization by France of African countries in the past allows the inflow of immigrants from French-speaking countries in Africa since the 1960s.
  • Naturally, French people come in different colors, including overseas territory.
  • Football is more popular in lower-class neighborhoods in France. Rich kids play other sports and live tennis while football is regarded as a game for the less privileged.
  • France embraces cultural diversity and the is no room for racism.
  • The country’s immigration system allows dual citizenship which makes it easy for players to choose their respective nationalities.

Are the best players to play for the French football national team blacks? 

No! In a broad sense, race or skin color is completely different from nationality. France is predominantly a white country but has different minority, racial groups. Black players in the French national team are not generally from Africa and white players in the team are not automatically born in France. Historically, the first black football player to play for the French national team is Raoul Diagne in 1931. However, the best players in the colors of the French football national team are Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane. Ironically, the iconic duo are white by skin color and were of Italian and Algerian origins respectively.

Are there any players of European origin in the French football national team?

Yes! Antoine Greizmann is currently one of the best players in France The football squad was born in Macon with Portuguese ancestry. Other players of European origin include Raphael Varane, Lucas Hernandez, Hugo Lloris, and Oliver Giroud.

How immigration ‘made French football better’

Immigration has made French football better in a number of ways. First, it has increased the diversity of the talent pool. Players from all over the world have come to France to play football, bringing with them different skills, styles, and perspectives. This has made the French national team more competitive and successful.

Second, immigration has helped to develop the French football infrastructure. Many immigrants have come from countries with a strong tradition of football, and they have brought their knowledge and expertise to France. This has helped to improve the quality of coaching, training, and facilities in France.

Third, immigration has helped to popularize football in France. Many immigrants come from countries where football is the most popular sport, and they have helped to generate interest in the sport among the French population. This has led to increased attendance at football matches and more investment in the sport.

Here are some specific examples of how immigration has made French football better:

  • The French national team won the World Cup in 1998 and 2018, and many of the players on those teams had immigrant backgrounds. For example, Zinedine Zidane, the star player of the 1998 team, was born to Algerian parents.
  • The French league is one of the most competitive in Europe, and many of the top clubs in the league have immigrant players. For example, Paris Saint-Germain, the current champions of France, have a number of Brazilian players, including Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.
  • The French Football Federation has a number of programs in place to promote diversity in the sport, such as the Talent Scouting Unit, which identifies and develops talented players from all backgrounds.

Overall, immigration has had a positive impact on French football. It has increased the diversity of the talent pool, developed the French football infrastructure, and helped to popularize the sport in France.


We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about why the France football national team has so many black players on the squad. Let’s have a look at them!

How many black players are on the French national team?

On average, there are about fifteen black players in the French football team squad, all major defendants of African origin. 

Is France a strong football team?

The French national team is up there among the elites in the football world, winning the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

How many times has France won the European Championships?

On two different occasions! First in 1984 and the second in the year 2000 which was hosted by the country.

Closing remarks

The long story of colonialism by France on African countries allows an inflow of immigrants from African countries. As a result of this, black players of African origins carry the French nationality which enables them to play for the national football team. Finally, France embraces diversity and has zero-tolerance for racism. The platform to develop and win major tournaments is provided for immigrants which makes it an interesting choice to represent the French national team as opposed to their country of birth in Africa.

We have come to the end of this article and we hope the resources provided therein are enough to answer your queries regarding the article topic. For feedback and questions, kindly reach out to us through the comment section.




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