19 Aug 2010

Anelka calls French football federation 'clowns'

6:55 am on 19 August 2010

Nicolas Anelka has described the French Football Federation (FFF) as a "bunch of clowns" after they handed the striker an 18-game international ban for his role in the national team's World Cup revolt in South Africa.

The 31-year-old was handed the suspension by a federation disciplinary commission on Tuesday, a decision Anelka said was "a farce" since he never intended to play for France again anyway.

Anelka was banished from the France squad in South Africa for insulting then coach Raymond Domenech at halftime of a 2-0 defeat by Mexico in Polokwane, his 69th international appearance.

"They just entertained the public," Anelka was quoted in France Soir as saying of the commission hearing. "These people are clowns. It makes me die of laughter."

The striker did not attend the hearing, where World Cup captain Patrice Evra was banned for five matches for leading a boycott of a training session in support of Anelka.

The FFF also banned Franck Ribery for three games and Jeremy Toulalan for one. Eric Abidal was the only one of five players involved in Tuesday's hearing to escape without sanction.