18 Aug 2010

Anelka the sacrificial lamb of French Football

6:46 pm on 18 August 2010

Nicolas Anelka has been banned for 18 matches by the French Football Federation over his conduct at the recent World Cup.

31-year-old Anelka was sent home from South Africa after a row with coach Raymond Domenech and, in protest, the France squad boycotted a training session.

Patrice Evra was captain of the team and has been banned for five matches for his part in the revolt, while Franck Ribery has been suspended for three and Jeremy Toulalan for one.

Eric Abidal made up the five players who were summoned to the FFF disciplinary hearing and he escaped punishment.

The quintet were highlighted as the key players in the embarrassing controversy which surrounded the French team at the World Cup following Anelka's outburst at Domenech during the

Anelka did not show up at the disciplinary hearing and his international career now appears to be all but over.

Domenech has been replace by Laurent Blanc and he did not select any of the 23-man World Cup squad for his recent first game in charge against Norway, which France lost 2-1.

The FFF has also withheld World Cup advertising bonuses which were due to be paid to players.

Blanc will now be without the banned players for the team's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, starting against Belarus in Paris on September 3.