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Anelka: 'You are all clowns'
French striker tells newspaper that 18-match ban was given 'to entertain the public'.
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2010 12:21 GMT
Anelka said he would never have played for France again even if he wasn't banned [AFP]

Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka described French football chiefs as "clowns" after they handed him an 18-game international ban for his role in the national team's World Cup revolt in South Africa.

The 31-year-old was handed the suspension by an French Football Federation (FFF) disciplinary commission on Tuesday.

Anelka said he never intended to play for France again anyway having been sent home from the finals for insulting then-coach Domenech.

"For me, that commission thing is absolute nonsense, an aberration, a farce, an attempt not to lose face," Anelka was quoted as saying by daily France Soir on Wednesday.

"They know that very well. They didn't punish anybody...because the Les Bleus chapter was closed for me on June 19, when I was kicked out of Knysna," he said, referring to the town where France had their World Cup training camp.

Banished

Anelka was banished from the France squad in South Africa for remarks made to Domenech at half time of a 2-0 defeat by Mexico in Polokwane – his 69th international appearance.

"They just entertained the public," Anelka said of the commission hearing.

"For me, since the World Cup in South Africa, the France team is all in the past. I wear a blue shirt with Chelsea every weekend and that's far enough for me"

Nicolas Anelka, banned France striker

"They'd better turn the page because (new France coach) Laurent Blanc needs to work in peace. These people are clowns. It makes me die of laughter.

"For me, since the World Cup in South Africa, the France team is all in the past... I wear a blue shirt with Chelsea every weekend and that's far enough for me."

The striker did not attend the hearing, where World Cup captain Patrice Evra was banned for five matches for leading a boycott of a training session in support of Anelka.

The FFF also banned Franck Ribery for three games and Jeremy Toulalan for one.

Eric Abidal was the only one of five players involved in Tuesday's hearing to escape without sanction.

Ribery accepted his ban but felt the players at the hearing had been cast as scapegoats.

"This is a great disappointment for me," Ribery said ahead of Bayern Munich's Bundesliga opener against VfL Wolfsburg on Friday.

"What happened at the World Cup happened to all of us. I do not know why only five players had to go to Paris (for the hearing)."

Unlike Anelka, however, Ribery plans to continue playing for France.

"Of course. There is no question about that," the 27-year-old said.

Source:
Agencies
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