Sarkozy wants French football fiasco to lead to changes

June 21st, 2010 - 5:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Chelsea Paris, June 21 (DPA) As French football suffers its blackest hour, President Nicolas Sarkozy is demanding that an accounting be made of the side’s World Cup fiasco, an advisor to the French president told the daily Le Parisien for its Monday edition.
Sarkozy wants “conclusions to be drawn from this failure,” the advisor said, and added: “An accounting must be made of all this.”

Much of the country was still in shock Monday after the previous day’s refusal by the French players to take part in an official training session, in protest against the exclusion of Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka from the World Cup because he insulted coach Raymond Domenech.

In addition, French television continued to show video footage of an altercation between team captain Patrice Evra and fitness trainer Robert Duverne over the players’ mutiny.

With France still having Tuesday’s match against South Africa to play, and a very slim hope of advancing into the Round of 16, Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot told TF1 television Sunday that Sarkozy had asked her to remain in South Africa to try and restore order to the side.

She said she had called an “emergency meeting” with Evra, Domenech and the head of the French Football Federation (FFF), Jean-Pierre Escalettes, and asked all sides to demonstrate “responsibility and dignity”.

Meanwhile, outrage continued to grow at home, as the World Cup has turned into an affair of state for the French.

Conservative lawmaker Jean-Francois Lamour, a former sports minister and Olympic fencing champion, called the behaviour of the players “dramatic and pitiful”.

He told Le Parisien, “No one does honour and defend the uniform of the French team any more. It is terribly shocking.”

Right-wing extremist Marine Le Pen, of the National Front party, demanded Bachelot’s resignation for the “global humiliation” France has suffered.

Also speaking on TF1 television, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said, “This is a caricature of France. It is an appalling soap opera.”

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