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Anelka scoffs at 18-game France soccer ban
Question of the Day
PARIS (AP) - Nicolas Anelka says he isn't interested in playing again for France, a day after he received an 18-match suspension from the national soccer team for his outburst against the coach during the World Cup.
The French Football Federation suspended the Chelsea striker Tuesday for his profane tirade against then-coach Raymond Domenech during France's 2-0 loss to Mexico at the World Cup in South Africa. Anelka was sent home, prompting all 23 French players to boycott a practice session.
"Who said I wanted to play again in blue?" he said in Wednesday editions of Soir newspaper in France, adding "for me, after the World Cup in South Africa, the French team is now history."
The 18-match ban is expected to last for nearly two years, meaning that by the time he's eligible to play for "Les Bleus," Anelka will be 33 and unlikely to be recalled
Anelka called the suspension a "masquerade to not lose face."
"These people are real clowns ... I'm dying of laughter," Anelka said in the article.
The French federation's disciplinary commission handed former captain Patrice Evra a five-match ban, Franck Ribery a three-match ban and Jeremy Toulalan a one-match suspension. The players can appeal.
Eric Abidal, the fifth player summoned to the 4-hour hearing, wasn't punished.
France was eliminated in the first round without winning a game at the World Cup. But it was the players' actions, including the sit-in on the team bus, that drew widespread condemnation from the public, France President Nicolas Sarkozy and other political leaders.
The French federation summoned the five players who played a leading role to a hearing Tuesday. Anelka and Ribery didn't attend and sent lawyers instead.
Ribery, who was assistant captain at the World Cup, was prevented from traveling to the hearing by his club, Bayern Munich, before the team's opening Bundesliga match on Friday.
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