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Rediff.com  » Sports » Anelka banned for 18 games after World Cup row

Anelka banned for 18 games after World Cup row

Last updated on: August 17, 2010 21:09 IST

Nicolas AnelkaStriker Nicolas Anelka has been banned for 18 games by the France team after the players' World Cup revolt, the French Football Federation (FFF) said on Tuesday.

World Cup captain Patrice Evra was banned for five matches for leading a boycott of a training session in South Africa in June in support of Anelka, who was banished from the squad for insulting then coach Raymond Domenech.

The FFF banned Franck Ribery for three games and Jeremy Toulalan for one. Eric Abidal escaped without sanction.

"We wanted Anelka's sanction to set an example," disciplinary commission president Jean Mazzella said.

The five players, accused of playing a leading role in France's controversial behaviour in South Africa, had been summoned by the FFF for a hearing at the ruling body's headquarters in Paris.

Ribery, whose Bayern Munich club had refused to release him, and Anelka did not attend the hearing, unlike the other three.

France sparked a big outcry at the World Cup by refusing to train at their base in Knysna, Western Cape, after Anelka was sent home in disgrace for foul-mouthed comments muttered at halftime of a 2-0 defeat by Mexico in Polokwane.

CLOSE CHAPTER

"The players now realise that they should never have done such a thing," former France team director Jean-Louis Valentin, who testified during the hearing, told reporters as he left the FFF building.

"We have to acknowledge that they deserve another chance... Let's close this chapter and start another one," he added.

None of the players talked to the media after the hearing, during which Domenech and outgoing FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes also spoke.

Two days after boycotting training, France suffered a shock first-round exit from the World Cup with a 2-1 defeat by hosts South Africa.

Laurent Blanc, who succeeded the controversial Domenech as coach after the World Cup, refused to pick any of the 23 players involved in the boycott for his first game in charge, a 2-1 defeat in Norway earlier this month.

France start their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a home game against Belarus on September 3.

Source:
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