French federation upholds Evra's 5-match ban

BY foxsports • September 9, 2010

The French football federation upheld its decision on Thursday to suspend defender Patrice Evra from the national team for five matches.

Evra appeared before the federation's appeals commission for nearly three hours in asking its members to overturn the ban he received for his role in the French players' training strike at the World Cup. The team was eliminated in the first round of the tournament without winning a match.

The French federation confirmed the ban in a statement without elaborating.

This decision means the Manchester United defender, who has already missed two internationals, won't be able to play again for France until February's friendly against Brazil.

Evra can appeal to the French Olympic Committee. Legal action against the federation would then be his final option.

In South Africa, the players boycotted a training session two days before their final game to protest against the decision to send Nicolas Anelka home following his altercation with then-coach Raymond Domenech.

Evra later said his role was exaggerated, but he was also seen arguing with fitness coach Robert Duverne during the strike.

Evra was France captain at the tournament except for being left on the bench for the final match, a loss to South Africa.

Last month, the federation also suspended Anelka for 18 games, Franck Ribery for three and Jeremy Toulalan for one match. None of those players lodged an appeal.

Evra didn't speak to reporters after the hearing, but his lawyer said the player told commission members he had taken on the captaincy with ''transparency and honesty.''

''Patrice explained he always tried to soften things between the federation and the players during the World Cup,'' lawyer Jean-Yves Foucard said. ''He was a go-between and I think the commission members understood he didn't fail as a captain.''

Evra has been viewed as being the main leader behind the mutiny. Foucard said his client had already paid for his actions when France coach Laurent Blanc suspended all the World Cup players for his first match in charge, a loss to Norway in an August friendly.

''All the players admitted they made a mistake with this strike and they have been sanctioned,'' Foucard said. ''But Patrice should not be punished for having failed as a captain.''

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