France World Cup five called on to explain strike
Paris: Nicolas Anelka was among five France internationals ordered to appear before the disciplinary commission of the French Football Federation (FFF) on Friday to explain the team’s training ground strike at the World Cup.
The 31-year-old Chelsea striker was sent home early from South Africa in disgrace after a dressing-room bust-up with former coach Raymond Domenech.
His expulsion resulted in the other 22 members of the squad staging a one-day strike in support of Anelka.
Anelka, along with France captain Patrice Evra, Franck Ribery, Eric Abidal and Jeremy Toulalan, have been ordered to explain their roles in the refusal to train before the FFF on August 17, a well-placed source told reporters.
The five players have been targetted because they were deemed to have had key roles to play in the strike.
Evra as the captain, Ribery as vice-captain, Anelka for insulting Domenech, Abidal for his refusal to play France’s final World Cup match against South Africa, and Toulalan for writing the statement issued by the players announcing their intention to strike.
An inquiry into the World Cup fiasco is due to be published later Friday and may recommend further sanctions against the players, although new coach Laurent Blanc hopes it will not hinder his bid to qualify France for Euro 2012.
As a result of their behaviour in South Africa all members of the French World Cup squad were left out of Blanc’s squad for his first game in charge, a friendly against Norway in Oslo on August 11.
Ribery is also facing trouble on another front after being charged with having sex with an under-age prostitute.
The Bayern Munich player, who faces up to three years in prison if convicted, has admitted paying for sex with Zahia Dehar but denies knowing the call girl was under 18 at the time.