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Blanc drops all the mutineers for August friendly
by Paul Kennedy, July 23rd, 2010 8:22PM

TAGS:  france, world cup


[FRANCE] What should be done about Nicolas Anelka, kicked off France's 2010 World Cup team for insulting Coach Raymond Domenech? And what about captain Patrice Evra, who led a player strike just two days before their final match against host nation South Africa? New France coach Laurent Blanc has gone one step further and suspended all 23 players for the Bleus' next game, an Aug. 11 friendly at Norway.

The French soccer federation confirmed the decision: "Laurent Blanc proposed to the federal council not to retain any of the 23 players officially selected for the World Cup in South Africa, for the friendly match against Norway in Oslo on Wednesday Aug. 11. Laurent Blanc will release the list of players selected for this match on Thursday Aug. 5."

Many of the players have since admitted that their decision to refuse to train was wrong.

"It was completely stupid," said goalie Hugo Lloris, "but there were so many problems."

The decision to not to train was a protest at the French federation's decision to kick Anelka off the team based on comments published by French sports newspaper L'Equipe.

Even Domenech, against whom the comments were directed, did not intend for them to become public.

The players have been faulted for becoming so obsessed that a snitch leaked Anelka's comments to the press that they lost sight of how a strike at the World Cup would be perceived. It was a national embarrassment in France.

"I'm not proud of what I did but I accept responsibility," said midfielder Jeremy Toulalan. "There were no ringleaders and no slaves, no good guys and no bad guys. We were all involved and we are all responsible because nobody said a word against the boycott."

  1. Tom Jedrzejewicz
    commented on: July 26, 2010 at 2:48 p.m.
    Just wait .. this is sure to get better. I think in EC law there is a "right to strike", and the French players refusal to train in protest of the treatment of a peer almost certainly can be considered a strike. Retaliatory suspensions may well be illegal under some readings of the law. I am waiting for one of the players to file a claim. Maybe there will even be allegations of "human rights abuses"! This is going to be fun!

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