Domenech gets a grilling from the French government

Patrick Vignal
Thursday 01 July 2010 00:00
Comments

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.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in