Anelka kicked out of World Cup for insults
Johanesburg: Striker Nicolas Anelka was kicked out of France`s World Cup squad on Saturday for insulting coach Raymond Domenech and refusing to apologise, the French Football Federation (FFF) said.
Anelka insulted Domenech in a crude manner at halftime of a 2-0 defeat by Mexico on Thursday in Polokwane.
"The comments made by Nicolas Anelka towards national coach Raymond Domenech are totally unacceptable for the French Football Federation, French soccer and the values they defend," the FFF said in a statement.
FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes decided to exclude the striker after Anelka, who was to leave France`s base at Knysna, Western Cape, later on Saturday, said he would not apologise, the statement read.
The move was expected since Anelka missed training on Saturday and a team spokesman said France captain Patrice Evra was to make a statement.
Anelka`s insults towards Domenech came after the coach had criticised the player`s attitude on the pitch against Mexico before deciding to take him off for the second half.
The 31-year-old Anelka, who has scored 14 goals in 71 internationals, had faced heavy criticism from the French media for dismal displays in warm-up games and in the team`s opening 0-0 draw with Uruguay.
Domenech had still kept faith in him and left Thierry Henry, France`s record scorer with 51 goals from 122 appearances, out of his starting lineup for France`s two matches so far.
By insulting Domenech, Anelka emulated former French enfant terrible Eric Cantona, who had called national team coach Henri Michel a "scumbag" in 1988 and did not play for France for months as a result.
French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot reacted to the Anelka incident by urging the France players to show dignity.
"The very high pressure weighing on Les Bleus does not authorise any form of slip-up," Bachelot said in a statement.
"The players must keep in mind that they`re wearing France`s colours and are considered as role models by many youngsters. This obliges them to show restraint and dignity."
Former France striker Just Fontaine, who scored a record 13 goals at the 1958 World Cup, had asked for Anelka to be sanctioned straight away.
"What`s happening to the France team is moronic, deplorable and pitiful," Fontaine told Reuters.
"Anelka must be kicked out."