June 21st, 2010
06:57 AM ET

Crisis-stricken French squad resumes training

France's crisis-stricken World Cup squad resumed training on Monday a day after the players went on strike in protest over striker's Nicolas Anelka's expulsion following an alleged row with coach Raymond Domenech.

French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot is due to hold talks with Domenech and his players on Monday and said the nation felt "great indignation" over the collapse of the team's World Cup challenge into infighting and allegations of treachery, according to Agence-France Presse.

The former world champions face a humiliating early exit from the tournament if they fail to beat hosts South Africa on Tuesday, or if group A rivals Mexico and Uruguay draw in the day's other game.

Chelsea striker Anelka flew home to London on Sunday after being dropped from the squad following an angry confrontation with Domenech at halftime in France's 2-0 defeat by Mexico.

But French captain Patrice Evra was reported to be incensed that details of the incident were leaked to the media, claiming there was a "traitor" in the French camp.

A public training session on Sunday was halted after Evra was involved in a shouting match with fitness coach Robert Duverne, who reacted by angrily throwing down his official accreditation badge.

The squad, who said they only turned out to greet fans, promptly walked off and were joined by Domenech on the bus, who then emerged to read a statement on behalf of the players to declare their unanimous opposition to the decision of the French Football Federation to send Anelka home.

"They made a decision without consulting all the players, only on the basis of the 'facts' reported by the press. Accordingly, and to mark their opposition to the highest level of French football, all players decided not to participate in the work-out."

But the players said they would "do everything individually and in a collective spirit so that France regains its honor against South Africa on Tuesday."

To add to the confusion, French team director Jean-Louis Valentin publicly announced his resignation to the media.

"Ask the players, they do not want to involve themselves any more. It's unacceptable," he told AFP. "They don't want to train. It's a scandal for the French, it's a scandal for the federation and the French team. It is a shame. As for me, it's over. I'm leaving the federation. I'm sickened and disgusted."

France's leading sports newspaper, L'Equipe, criticized Manchester United defender Evra on Monday, questioning his behavior as captain, AFP reported.

"Patrice Evra definitively showed that he confused the role of captain with being a leader of a gang. He has neither the capacity, nor the charisma nor the qualities to don the captain's armband," hew newspaper said.

Domenech meanwhile said the decision to expel Anelka was the right one but said he could have stayed if he'd apologized the next day.

"He does not have the right to say such things," said Domenech who is stepping down as national coach after the World Cup.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. jxtr

    The whole team should have been sent home early with the other ousted player.

    June 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. YaSure

    now they are cheaters AND whiners.

    June 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. UtrGaul

    What up wit dat?

    June 22, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |