Why no Auschwitz visit for French Euro 2012 team, Jewish leader asks

The leader of the French Jewish umbrella organisation has expressed surprise that his country's football team did not visit Auschwitz ahead of the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland.

Several members of the England team spent the day at Auschwitz or visiting other Holocaust sites in Krakow ahead of the opening of the European competition. Teams from Italy, the Netherlands and Germany also organised visits.

But the French team, which played England in a one-all draw on Monday, is based in the Ukraine and did not arrange a similar visit.

Noting that England had taken a step ahead of France, CRIF president Dr Richard Prasquier wrote on the organisation's website that the lack of a visit was "shocking".

He acknowledged that a visit was more difficult for the French team, which is based in Donetsk in the Ukraine, than for the teams based in Krakow.

"But the plane shortens distances and the fact that the visit does not seem to have been considered is shocking."

He pointed out that the timing of the visit did not stop the England team from "playing properly three days later. "In light of how football players serve as role models for young people," and because of "the ignorance of many young people" about the Holocaust , he said the team should have visited.

He said he hoped the French team would reconsider visiting at the end of Euro 2012, adding that he hoped this would be after the players were "victorious" in the tournament.

Last updated: 11:08am, June 13 2012