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Anelka handed 18-match France ban
Striker suspended as French federation take action over player revolt at the World Cup.
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2010 14:41 GMT
France boycotted a training session in South Africa in June in support of Anelka [AFP]

Striker Nicolas Anelka has been banned for 18 games by the French Football Federation (FFF) after the players' revolt at this year's World Cup in South Africa.

Patrice Evra, France's captain at the tournament, was banned for five matches for leading a boycott of a training session in support of Anelka, who had been banished from the squad for insulting then-coach Raymond Domenech.

The FFF's disciplinary commission, which met on Tuesday in Paris, also handed a three-match ban to Franck Ribery and a one-match suspension to Jeremy Toulalan.

Eric Abidal, the fifth player summoned to the hearing, did not receive any punishment. 

New chapter

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

"We have to acknowledge that and they deserve another chance ... let's close this chapter and start another one."

No other official or player talked to the media after the hearings, during which Domenech and Jean-Pierre Escalettes, the outgoing FFF president, also spoke.

Ribery did not appear at the hearing as his club Bayern Munich had refused to release him, while striker Anelka was nowhere to be seen.

Les Bleus boycotted a training session in South Africa in June in support of Anelka, who was banished from the squad for insulting Domenech.

Two days later, they suffered a shock first-round exit from the tournament with a 2-1 defeat by hosts South Africa.

Laurent Blanc, who succeeded 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:
Agencies
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