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French coach Blanc criticizes form of player suspensions

  • AP, Monday, August 23, 2010 4:06 AM

New French national team coach Laurent Blanc criticized the different sanctions that were imposed on five players in the aftermath of the Bleus' mutiny at the World Cup.

"Only when people bring me evidence that those five players played a much more important role than the others, will I understand why different sanctions were imposed," Blanc said. "But I want to have it explained to me." Suspensions were handed to Nicolas Anelka (18 games), former captain Patrice Evra (5), Franck Ribery (3) and Jeremy Toulalan (1) after the French players boycotted a training session in South Africa to protest Anelka's expulsion from the team. Eric Abidal escaped a ban.

"It's not that I did not want sanctions -- there have already been sanctions," Blanc added. "But I did not want to have disciplinary sanctions. I wanted to rely on the best players for the key European Championship qualifiers."

Blanc dropped all 23 World Cup players for his first game -- a 2-1 loss to Norway -- but will miss Ribery and Toulalan, two key players, for the opening Euro 2012 qualifier in September.

"Let's not forget that we must erase what happened in South Africa with results," Blanc said. "If we get results, people will forget, even if the scar is deep. But if there's no result, people will forever remember that incident in South Africa."

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