When is an Australian not an Australian, or an Englishman or a Frenchman? Does where you are born determine your nationality?
If this were the case there are many famous sports stars who would no longer be classed as Australian. Footballer Josep Simunic was born in Canberra, attended the AIS but then opted to play for Croatia the land of his parents birth because he was entitled to dual citizenship. Yet as much as this option upset many Australians, as well as the fact he has played over 100 games for his adopted country, the majority of fans are proud to call him Australian.
If we turn our attention to rugby union Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore was born in Saudi Arabia, Will Genia was born in Papua New Guinea, and Quade Cooper in New Zealand, yet we are all pleased to see them in the Australian colours. You could go through plenty of other national teams and you would find the same thing.
Now this may be semantics, but we have seen Perth Glory’s new recruit former Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur defender William Gallas being billed as the first Frenchman to play in the Hyundai A-League, by the club and also Fox sports. Yet however you look at it he is not. He is however the first French full international, but not the first frenchman.
Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix striker Eugene Dadi, was the first Frenchman to play in the Hyundai A-League. Dadi was born in the Ivory Coast and moved to France at nine years of age, and became a French citizen. His football career started in France, but with no offer to play internationally for his home nation he opted to play for the country of his birth when the Ivory Coast came calling.
Gallas is not even the second Frenchman to play in the Hyundai A-League as Melbourne Victory’s Jonathan Bru has that honour. Bru was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine and represented France in almost every aged youth team, but was never selected to make an appearance for the senior side. In June 2009, he announced that he hoped to play one day for Mauritius, the country in which both of his parents were born. He has since achieved that goal. Bru however has become a forgotten man it would appear not just at the Victory where he has not made a start or been listed as a substitute so far this season.
If football is serious about promoting the game and being professional, little facts such as these should be corrected. It is important that the records reflect the truth. Gallas is obviously a big name, and there is no disputing that he is the first full French international to play in the A-League, but not the first Frenchman. Even for those who try and claim Eugene Dadi was not, despite what his passport says, Jonathan Bru is also ahead of Gallas and he did represent France. For the future history of the game these errors need to be amended to give a true reflection on the history of Australian football.