Domenech gets a grilling from the French government

The French government yesterday denied any political interference in their national team's affairs but kept debating the side's World Cup debacle amid a suspension threat by Fifa.

The world governing body's president Sepp Blatter said on Tuesday that Fifa could suspend the French Football Federation if politicians kept meddling in the game, meaning the country could be banned from international tournaments and its clubs from European competitions.

"There was never any question of the French government interfering in the affairs of the FFF," government spokesman Luc Chatel said yesterday. FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes resigned on Monday in the wake of France's disastrous showing in South Africa, saying the decision was his own, but sports minister Roselyne Bachelot had said last week his resignation was "unavoidable".

Bachelot appeared before a parliamentary commission on Tuesday, and yesterday Escalettes and outgoing coach Raymond Domenech did the same. "She (Bachelot) indeed indicated that she personally believed his resignation was unavoidable but she did not ask for his resignation," Chatel said. "It is normal for members of parliament to try to find out exactly what happened because it is a topic that preoccupies French people," he added.

France left the World Cup at the group stage after a campaign rocked by the players' decision to boycott a training session in support of striker Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home for insulting Domenech.

The players, who eventually left the World Cup in disgrace with just one point and one goal from three group matches, would not listen and continued the boycott to protest against the FFF decision to kick out Anelka after he had insulted Domenech.

Escalettes and Domenech told the commission they had tried their best to reason with the rebellious players. "Escalettes told us they faced a wall [of opposition], something he had never experienced in over 50 years in football, and they could not make it fall," said commission member Lionel Tardy after the private hearing. "For him, something was broken that day."

Domenech, whose lack of authority and vision were exposed at the World Cup, told the commission that French sports daily L'Equipe had contributed to the team's collapse by printing Anelka's crude insults on its front page.

France's World Cup disaster will be back under the spotlight on Friday with a meeting of the FFF council.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'