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France: Harsh punishment for the players

The French Football Federation has handed out harsh punishments to its players for their revolt and misconduct at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Five players had been summoned to the FFF tribunal, but only three players turned up as Franck Ribery was not released by Bayern Munich and Nicolas Anelka didn’t turn up but the reasons were not known. Both players were represented by their legal aides. The players present were captain Patrice Evra, Jeremy Toulalan and Eric Abidal.

To recap what had happened in South Africa. At half time of the France vs Mexico match Anelka abused coach Raymond Domenech in the dressing room in an inappropriate way which resulted in the striker being taken off at half time. Somehow this piece of news reached the French press and this forced Domenech to send Anelka home as such behaviour could not be accepted. After sending Anelka home the team then decided to protest against the move by boycotting a training session and asked the coach to read out a statement to the press. It brought national shame onto the Grande Nation.

The FFF held an enquiry into the incidences in South Africa and had now summoned the key players to Paris to ask them about their views on the happenings in South Africa. The results came swift and were harsh with all players except Adibal being banned to represent France for a number of matches.

Striker Nicolas Anelka, who plays for FC Chelsea, has been banned for a record 18 matches by the FFF. Which means that if Anelka does not call it a day to his international career, then he would return sometime in 2012 ahead of the European Championships.

Captain Patrice Evra, who plays for Manchester United, has been banned for five matches for his part in the revolt and unrest within the team. In footage from the day of the revolt he is seen to argue with one of the support staff.

Vice-captain Franck Ribery, who plays for Bayern Munich, has been suspended for three matches as he like Evra was seen by the FFF not to perform his duty as a leader of the team.
Meanwhile Jeremy Toulalan, who plays for Olympique Lyonnais, has been suspended for only one match as he is seen to be the man behind the text Domenech had to read out to the media.

And finally Eric Abidal of FC Barcelona wasn’t given any suspension as his offence was his refusal to play in the final group match against South Africa, which France lost 2-1.

This brings to an end the saddest chapter in French football, but one will have to wait and see if the effects aren’t going to last into the Euro2012 qualifiers which start next month. And the French Players’ Union (UNFP) stated that the punishment handed out against the players had been disproportionate, suggesting they had paid the price for coach Domenech’s failings.

“Because they are disproportionate, the sanctions have no value. Instead, they will impede the progress of Laurent Blanc,” a UNFP statement said.

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