France

Anelka banned from 18 matches for World Cup rant

Reuters

The French Football Federation disciplinary commission has handed international striker Nicolas Anelka an 18 match ban, effectively putting an end to his career with the French squad.

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The commission also banned World Cup captain Patrice Evra from five matches, vice-captain Franck Ribery from three matches, and Lyon midfielder Jeremy Toulalan from one match.

World Cup 2010 dossier

Eric Abidal, the fifth player who was called before the commission, convinced the FFF that he was innocent, and he was absolved.

Ribery did not appear at the commission, as his club Bayern Munich refused to release him, and Anelka, as expected, did not show up either.

The three-member commission sanctioned the four players for their boycott of a training session ahead of a match with South Africa during the World Cup. It said it could not look into all 23 members of the team, and instead called the five, whom they considered key instigators.

Anelka was sanctioned for, among other things, insulting coach Raymond Domenech during the World Cup, a move that got him banned, which sparked the rest of the team to boycott the training session.

The exact nature of the insults remain contested. Anelka never revealed exactly what he said, saying only to the French newspaper France Soir: “I murmured something to myself which will stay in the dressing rooms. And should have stayed there.”

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