French footballers suspended for loss

REUTERS

, Last Updated: 7:05 PM ET

PARIS — The 23 members of France's World Cup squad have been suspended for the country's next game as a result of their first-round exit from this year's tournament, the French Football Federation said Friday.

The decision was made on the recommendation of new coach Laurent Blanc.

France's ignominious departure from South Africa followed a players' boycott of a training session in support of striker Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home for insulting coach Raymond Domenech.

Blanc, who was appointed July 2 to replace Domenech and restore the pride of the 1998 world champions, will announce on Aug. 5 the players selected for the game against Norway in Oslo six days later.

The FFF's council was also expected to discuss the positions of playmaker Franck Ribery and striker Karim Benzema, who are under judicial investigation on suspicion of soliciting sex with an under-age prostitute.

However caretaker president Fernand Duchaussoy, holding his first news conference after replacing Jean-Pierre Escalettes who resigned after the World Cup, said no decision had been taken.

"Personally, I'm convinced that people who play for the national team have to be absolutely clean but I'll have to discuss the matter with Laurent Blanc. I shall respect his wishes and the general interest," he said.

Duchaussoy said the council fully approved Blanc's proposal to omit all 23 players selected for the World Cup.

He said heavier sanctions against the leaders of the team's mutiny in Knysna, where the players refused to train two days before their last group game, would depend on the result of an inquiry already ordered by Escalettes.

The first official game under Blanc is Sept. 3 when France is host to Belarus in a Euro 2012 qualifier.


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