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French World Cup Campaign Thrown Into Chaos

June 20, 2010 - Knysna, South Africa - epa02212930 Coach Raymond Domenech (R) tries to calm Fitness Coach Robert Duverne (C) down, after he had a heated argument with Patrice Evra (not seen L) on the pitch in Knysna, South Africa, 20 June 2010. The team arrived at a open training and greeted members of the public, only to then return to the team bus. After 30 minutes the team coach, Raymond Domenech read a statement to the media where the team declared their unhappiness with the way Nikolas Anelka was booted off the squad and sent back to France for insulting the coach. The national team director Jean-Louis Valentin stormed off in disgust at the team

By David Moore-Crouch.

The Les Bleu World Cup campaign has descended further into chaos after the players refused to train on Sunday. This follows Nicolas Anelka’s sending home after a bust up with Coach Raymond Domenech.

The French camp has been under fire with rumours of unrest and infighting amongst the players and coaching staff. Captain Patrice Evra had earlier accused a ‘traitor’ of leaking Anelka’s outburst to the French media. Evra was again in the midst of the controversy after a bust up with Fitness Coach Robert Duverne before the scheduled training session on Sunday. The incident occurred whilst the rest of the team were mingling with the public before the start of the training session. Embattled Coach Domenech was needed to separate the two.

Duverne proceeded to throw his credentials onto the ground before storming off. Evra, on the other hand, acknowledged the public and then led his team onto the team bus. The players then drew the bus curtains and remained on the bus. 25 minutes later, Domenech then read out a letter from the players stating that the reason for their refusal to train was due to Anelka’s expulsion from the World Cup. The letter stated

“All players without exception want to declare their opposition to FFF decision to exclude Nicolas Anelka. The French Football Federation did not at any time try to protect the group. They took a decision uniquely based on facts reported by the press. As a consequence and to show our opposition to the decision taken by officials of the federation, all the players decided not to take part in today’s training session.”

In the wake of the incident, French Football Federation official Jean-Louis Valentin has quit in disgust. Valentin said

“I am ashamed; I am leaving immediately for Paris. What has happened is a scandal for the Federation, for the French team and for the whole country. They do not want to train, it is unacceptable.”

France must now find some resemblance of unity if they are to progress to the next round. They are on the verge of elimination and must win against hosts South Africa.

Can France pull it together to progress to the next round?

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