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Report: French minister doesn’t want rebels back

- Associated Press - Saturday, January 29, 2011

PARIS (AP) - French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno has reportedly said that the players responsible for a strike at the World Cup should never again play for the national team.

L'Equipe newspaper reported Saturday that Jouanno said it is "unacceptable" for the players who led the training session boycott last summer to be called back.

The players were protesting the decision by team officials to send Nicolas Anelka home from South Africa for his profanity-laced tirade against then-coach Raymond Domenech during a 2-0 group loss to Mexico.

France failed to make it out of the group stage and was widely criticized at home over the conduct of its players.

Anelka was subsequently suspended for 18 matches by the French soccer federation. Former captain Patrice Evra (five games), Franck Ribery (three games) and Jeremy Toulalan (one game) were also banned for their part in the boycott.

Federation president Fernand Duchaussoy said this week that Evra is eligible to return to coach Laurent Blanc's team now that his ban has ended.

Blanc is expected to announce his squad Thursday for next month's exhibition against Brazil.

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