Evra, Ribery, Anelka: anti-heroes in France’s rogues’ gallery

The shameful conduct of the French World Cup squad in South Africa has tarnished the reputation of the overpaid, brattish players concerned, and French football in general. Now, leaving aside the meaningless exclusion from a friendly, comes the reckoning. Colin Randall reports …

One of my regular newsagents had sold out of L’Equipe. It was first item on the French TF1 news last night. The French Football Federation has sent five players to a disciplinary commission for their part in the “billionaires’ strike”, as one French magazine called it.

In the hall of greater shame (since 23 players were actually involved, all culpable to some extent) we find

* Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery, as captain and vice (oops) captain

* Nicolas Anelka as the man whose foulmouthed rant led to the ludicrous mutiny

* Eric Abidal, who had the gall to refuse to play in the match against South Africa

* Jeremy Toulalan, who got his press adviser to write the statement Raymond Domenech was, humiliatingly, left to read to the media after the squad’s refusal to descend from their bus, discard their earphones and train

L’Equipe‘s report suggests the FFF was mistaken in not following the recommendation of the “commission of information” that collective punishment would be appropriate.

I have no idea what sanctions will end up falling upon the guilty heads. The squad has already agreed – with or without ministerial encouragement – to forfeit a sizeable pool of sponsorship money.

French football would be damaged but not destroyed if none of the five, or others deemed later to be deserving of special retribution, ever played for their country again. But they wouldn’t necessarily care. What would hurt most would, as usual, be further monetary loss – on a scale designed to hurt quite a lot. And that, says L’Equipe, is the one penalty they don’t face.

I’d have let them all argue their cases before the disciplinary commission and, if innocent, be exonerated.

And then, if the commission decided they did merit punishment, it could have tested the players’ alleged commitment to the French shirt by imposing fines equivalent to at least three months’ club wages – all the money to go to sports projects for disadvantaged kids in the banlieues. Anyone who declined to pay up could have been be banned for life from Les Bleus.

What a shame that cannot happen. From Le Figaro, I learn that the scale of available punishments apparently runs from being ordered to undertake some activity in the public interest (aka that old community service get-out-of-jail card) to suspension for a period/s to be determined.

One last thought: I am not sure whether Djibril Cissé played any prominent part in the revolt. He was not known as a calming influence in the Stadium of Light dressing room. But how relieved I am that no current Sunderland player was involved in the tawdry episode.

Tags: , , ,

Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

2 Responses to “Evra, Ribery, Anelka: anti-heroes in France’s rogues’ gallery” Subscribe

  1. harry August 7, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    What is the truth behind the bleus’ fiasco?? If domenech wasn’t guilty why was he removed??? are the trio mentioned here anti heroes or heroes??

  2. salutsunderland August 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    No one emerges with credit, Harry.Domemech was a poor coach and clearly had serious man-management shortcomings, He acted disgracefully in refusing to shake the S African manager’s hand after their match. But like McCarthy in 2002, he was the boss. The team had no right to defy him, any more – in my view, then and now – than had Keane. They brought shame on their country and showed a thoroughly evil example to idolising young fans. What is more, some of them (I suspect) belatedly know it.

    But of course anti-hero is a word with complex definitions, so take it any way you wish.

Leave a Reply

The bookies say Sunderland, Barnsley, Charlton, Portsmouth, Luton and Scunthorpe. What about you?

McCormick's Craic(featured image) full size 640 x 138

And so we have it: the fixtures are out. You’ll be getting your fill of dates, and conjecture from all […]

Alim Ozturk gets the traditional Salut! Sunderland welcome

Just a few of Jake's generic Salut! Sunderland images ...

No time for much else, but Salut! Sunderland could not let the signing of Alim Ozturk – our first acquisition […]

Charlton at home to start. Seaside promotion party at Southend to finish?

Just a few of Jake's generic Salut! Sunderland images ...

Monsieur Salut introduces the full fixtures list for next season, starting with Charlton at home, remembers an ambitious pre-match request […]

World Cup Diaries: (4) Moscow en fête as Russians celebrate another big win

Andy Falconer: 'I love Sunderland really'

Our Boro-suppporting World Cup diarist – Monsieur Salut’s nephew, Andy Falconer – changes city. After revealing in the beauty of […]

The Paddy McNair question and the ins and outs of squad rebuilding at Sunderland

One that was made earlier. Nic, left, with Claire, from outside the Fulwell

This tweet, from a Twitter contact (we follow each other), caught the attention. Well Mr Paddy McNair I do not […]

World Cup Diaries: (3) our Middlesbrough-supporting chronicler enjoys his first game

Andy Falconer: 'I love Sunderland really'

This is the third instalment of the World Cup musings of Monsieur Salut’s Boro-supporting nephew, Andy Falconer, who saves hard-earned […]