Evra to appeal against France ban

The 29-year-old defender was captain of France at this summer’s

World Cup finals in which they disappointed after crashing out at

the first hurdle. Controversy reigned as players went on strike the

day after Nicolas Anelka was sent home for lashing out at then

manager Raymond Domenech for being played out of position. The

squad took exception to Anelka’s treatment and refused to train the

following day in one of the most embarrassing days in the nation’s

footballing history. The FFF’s disciplinary committee handed

Manchester United left-back Evra a five-game ban for his part in

the strike, although his lawyer insists nothing official has been

filed and that he will appeal the sentence. “To this day, Mr

Patrice Evra has not received notification of the decision by the

Federal Disciplinary Commission (of the French Football Federation)

on August 17 banning him from the French team for five matches,”

his lawyer Jean-Yves Foucard said. “Mr Patrice Evra has decided to

appeal in that nothing untoward can be ascribed to him on an

individual basis given that the responsibility for the said events

on the (team) bus at Knysna is to all evidence collective.” Foucard

went on to state that the appeal would “allow Mr Laurent Blanc, the

national coach, to select Mr Patrice Evra if he so wishes as the

appeal is suspensive” under federation rules. However, a federation

legal department spokesman insists Evra’s lawyer is incorrect: “The

lawyer has it all wrong. The decision was sent out and the reasons

behind the punishment will be there and the disciplinary body has

moreover decided to lift the suspensive element – this appeal is

not suspensive.” The federation’s commission banned Evra and three

other ringleaders of the training ground strike after finding that

he had not properly carried out his duties as skipper. Anelka was

banned for 18 matches – effectively ending his France career –

Franck Ribery was handed a three-game ban, while Jeremy Toulalan

will serve a one-game suspension. Another player, Eric Abidal,

escaped a ban altogether. Blanc himself was surprised at the

varying length of the bans for what he deemed a “collective act”

and he called on the Commission to “explain to me if they had clear

and precise criteria” behind their ruling. On the subject of

Anelka, Blanc said: “I would like someone to explain to me why 18

matches, and why not 19 or 20 – it needs explaining.” After the

bans were first announced Blanc had said: “It’s obviously not an

ideal situation for French football, which will need all its top

players when the qualifying games for Euro 2012 begin.”