France’s World Cup descends into chaos
A player mutiny, training ground fight and a resignation after Nicolas Anelka sent home
France's World Cup campaign has descended into utter farce after striker Nicolas Anelka was expelled from the squad, prompting a player mutiny, a training ground fight and the resignation of the team director.
'Les Blues' were already enduring a nightmare tournament on the pitch and facing an early exit after losing to Mexico, but things got even worse when Nicolas Anelka was ordered home after a spat with manager Raymond Domenech.
He apparently told his boss to "go and get fucked" and called him a "dirty son of a whore" at half-time during the game against Mexico. When he refused to apologise after his insults were leaked to the press he was expelled from the squad.
But on Sunday, amid chaotic scenes at the French camp, the players refused to train and captain Patrice Evra was caught on film almost coming to blows with fitness coach Robert Duverne.
Coach Domenech was forced to intervene between Evra and Duverne as the pair squared up and Duverne then stormed off, hurling his stopwatch to the floor.
The rest of the players then announced that they would not take part in training and returned to the team bus.
They later released a statement which read: "All the players in the French squad without exception wish to affirm their opposition to the decision taken by the French Football Federation to exclude Nicolas Anelka."
Humiliatingly, it was Domenech who was forced to read the statement to journalists.
Worse was to follow as the player mutiny then prompted French Football Federation's team director Jean-Louis Valentin, to resign with immediate effect.
Valentin, who acts as liaison between the FFF and the squad, said: "I am disgusted, I am quitting my post... I am ashamed, I am leaving immediately for Paris. What has happened is a scandal for the federation, for the French team and for the whole country. They do not want to train, it is unacceptable."
France must beat hosts South Africa on Tuesday to stand any chance of progressing in the tournament. But even if they win it might not be enough - a draw between Mexico and Uruguay in the group's other game will knock them out. ·
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