Football: Ex-United star Cantona promises to house and feed refugees

Eric Cantona signing his autobiography when he was in Singapore in this Nov 27, 2014 file photo.
Eric Cantona signing his autobiography when he was in Singapore in this Nov 27, 2014 file photo.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

PARIS (AFP) - Former Manchester United football star Eric Cantona evoked the memory of his own grandparents fleeing war when promising on French radio on Tuesday to house and feed refugees for a period of "at least" two years.

"I'm organising that with authorities in Marseille," he told France Inter radio, explaining he intended to provide a small house, garden and food for a period of at least two years.

"If you house someone who does not have the right to work, then they need to eat too," said the enigmatic former France captain.

Cantona explained that his own family history had inspired his decision.

"My maternal grandparents were Spanish Republicans who fled Franco (in the Spanish civil war) by crossing the Pyrenees on foot," the 49-year-old said. "That being our story, it certainly played a role."

The man credited with sparking Manchester United's period of dominance in English football has carved out a successful second career as an actor since hanging up his boots.

He is currently performing in the stage play Victor at a Parisian theatre and also stars in the movie Rois Du Monde (Kings of the World) directed by Laurent Laffargue, which is being released in France on Wednesday.