Toulalan admits he was not one of the 'nice guys' in French furore

France midfielder Jérémy Toulalan admitted yesterday he played a direct part in the national squad's boycott of a training session during their disastrous World Cup campaign in South Africa and deeply regretted it.

The 26-year-old Lyons midfielder had been regarded by French media as one of the "nice guys" put under pressure by senior players branded as "immature gang leaders" by the French Sports Minister, Roselyne Bachelot.

But Toulalan told the weekly Journal du Dimanche that his private press officer had helped with the writing of the players' statement on the boycott of a training session in support of Nicolas Anelka, who was expelled from the squad for insulting the coach, Raymond Domenech.

"With a few players, we wrote down a few ideas to explain our views, then with the help of our press officers we gave them some shape to be sure people would understand our approach," he said.

"We didn't approve of what Nicolas Anelka had said, it's bad but it can happen. When the incident made the front page of L'Equipe things moved really fast," he added.

"We heard Nicolas was about to be kicked out, we tried to arrange a meeting with the coach. It never took place because the decision had already been taken."

Anelka's dismissal and the boycott of the training session two days before the last group game against South Africa caused an uproar in France.

Toulalan, however, said the players did not realise how serious the situation was. "I'm not proud of what I did but I accept responsibility," he said. "There were no ringleaders and no slaves, no good guys and no bad guys. We were all involved and we are all responsible because nobody said a word [against the boycott],"he said.

The midfielder also denied that the playmaker Yoann Gourcuff had been ostracised and even physically threatened by more senior players like Franck Ribéry or Anelka.

"It's totally untrue. I even heard that I had to pull apart Franck and Yoann; It's a load of rubbish. They never had an argument," he said.

Toulalan added that he had been deeply affected by Les Bleus' winless first-round exit from the tournament. "We should have talked to each other on the pitch and shown during the games the solidarity which was ours in support of Anelka," he said.

"I'm going through a nightmare. I'm still wondering how we managed to do such things. It's a stain on my career and it will be very difficult to wipe it off."

The French Football Federation has announced an official investigation into the boycott and even the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, got involved, asking Bachelot to meet with the key people involved in the row.

"We are taking note of the indignation of the French people and ... calling for dignity and responsibility," the Sports Minister said. "It's not yet the right time to take disciplinary action but that time will come very soon.

"I told the players they had tarnished the image of France. It is a morale disaster for French football. I told them they could no longer be heroes for our children. They have destroyed the dreams of their countrymen, their friends and supporters."

The Monaco coach, Guy Lacombe, has hinted he would be prepared to allow the South Korea forward Park Chu-young to leave the club for a move to the Premier League if the right offer was made.

The 25-year-old impressed at the World Cup for the Taeguk Warriors and the former FC Seoul player has been linked with a move to the likes of Fulham, Aston Villa and Everton.

After Monaco played a pre-season friendly against K-League team Incheon United yesterday, Lacombe was asked about Park's future by the local media.

"I don't know anything about transfer rumours," he said. "Even if an offer came we have no mind to sell the player. but in football I think there is no such word as 'never'."

The friendly ended 2-2 at Incheon's World Cup Stadium. Park came on as a second-half substitute and Do Hwa-sung scored through a 50-yard strike.

"Our young players looked good," Lacombe said, "but it's true that they are not experienced. Incheon's first goal came from our mistake but it was a very good goal."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
News
Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey
peopleBut who comes top of the wish list?
News
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, right, with Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds in Newtown, Powys, as part of her tour in support of the party’s female candidates
general electionNick Clegg's wife has impressed during the campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living