BBC SPORT | Friday, 23 July 2010 | 14:46 GMT
The French Football Federation has suspended all 23 members of France’s World Cup squad for their next game. New France coach Laurent Blanc requested that no member of the squad be selected for a friendly against Norway in Oslo on 11 August. France failed to win any of their three group games in South Africa. The campaign included players boycotting training in support of Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home for insulting coach Raymond Domenech. The sanction means France’s opening qualifier for Euro 2012, at home to Belarus on 3 September, will be the first opportunity for any of the 23 to feature in a Blanc squad.
Blanc said: "I obviously cannot act as if nothing had happened in South Africa. I followed the events with sadness, I was disappointed with the sporting results and I was shocked by certain behaviours. I will integrate these elements into my analysis and my thoughts. I always had the principles, rules of conduct and not just in my sporting life. They have not changed and I will not change." The crisis that engulfed Domenech’s last tournament as national coach resulted in the resignation of FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes, with his successor due to be unveiled on Friday. The one-day training strike, on 20 June, came after Chelsea forward Anelka was sent home from the tournament following a heated exchange with Domenech at half-time during the defeat to Mexico on 17 June.
France captain Patrice Evra accused a "traitor" within the party of leaking details of Anelka’s rant to the media and of destabilising the squad, and the skipper was then seen arguing with fitness coach Robert Duverne at the start of the scheduled training session. Duverne stormed off the training ground and the players headed for their bus and refused to train, leaving Domenech to read a statement to the press on their behalf. Former France defenders Lilian Thuram and Marcel Desailly called for Evra to be banned from national team duty over his part in the insurrection, and Escalettes took a similar stance. But Blanc said upon his unveiling as Domenech’s successor: "It is not for me to decide on sanctions. I am not the bogeyman. If I consider they are the best players in their position, I will take them."
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has admitted that the decision to strike was "completely stupid". The Lyon star told French sports newspaper L’Equipe: "We acted as a team. To strike was the decision of a squad who felt lonely, who believed that no-one had stood up for them and who had a message to convey. We went too far. It was a very awkward decision, a big mistake. It was completely stupid. But there were so many problems. We all want to improve the image of Les Bleus. We must make all possible effort, give everything. It’s important for us. We must go back to basics – respect for the jersey, of course, the team and the institution of France. We have a great desire that what happened in South Africa should not happen again, that there should be no self-destruction like that anymore." Meanwhile Fernand Duchaussoy has been named as the FFF’s interim president. President of the Ligue du Football Amateur since 2005, the 67-year-old Fernand Duchaussoy succeeds Jean-Pierre Escalettes, whose resignation was accepted at a 2 July 2 meeting of the federation’s federal council but stayed on until a successor could be found.