x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Nicolas Anelka thrown out of World Cup squad

Nicolas Anelka has been sent home by France after insulting coach Raymond Domenech and refusing to apologise, the country's football federation said.

Anelka, left, has been sent home by France. The current French squad under Domenech, right, is riven with factions.
Anelka, left, has been sent home by France. The current French squad under Domenech, right, is riven with factions.

KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA // Nicolas Anelka has been thrown out of France's World Cup squad after insulting coach Raymond Domenech and refusing to apologise, the French football federation said today. The Chelsea striker reportedly made obscene comments to Domenech at half time during the 2-0 loss to Mexico on Thursday, and then refused to say sorry when asked to do so by FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes.

"Faced by the refusal of the player to publicly apologise, he (Escalettes) took the decision in total agreement with the coach and the official members of the delegation present in Knysna to exclude Nicolas Anelka from the squad," the FFF said in a statement. "He will leave the French team camp this evening." The FFF said that the France captain Patrice Evra was also present with Escalettes when the decision was taken, adding that Anelka's comments are "totally unacceptable for the FFF, French football and the values it defends."

Two unconvincing performances in the 0-0 draw with Uruguay and against Mexico had observers like former France defender Bixente Lizarazu furious at Anelka's casual attitude. "What bothers me is Nicolas Anelka's performance in the first half. I saw a player strolling ... strolling in the World Cup!" Lizarazu said. "He wasn't aggressive, wasn't interested in the game. Domenech took him off at the break, but should have done so before. You shouldn't play in a selfish manner, you have to show you're up for it."

* AP