France squad refuse to train
France's World Cup crisis has taken a new twist after the squad refused to train on Sunday.
Last Updated: 21/06/10 10:13am
France's World Cup crisis has taken a new twist after the squad refused to train on Sunday
Les Bleus have found themselves in disarray on and off the pitch in South Africa with Nicolas Anelka being sent home from the tournament after a bust-up with coach Raymond Domenech.
There have also been rumours of discontent between several members of the squad with skipper Patrice Evra accusing a 'traitor' of leaking out news of Anelka's outburst to the French media.
The French are facing elimination at the first hurdle even if they beat South Africa in their final game as a draw between Uruguay and Mexico will send the 2006 runners-up packing.
The team arrived at training on Sunday, but the session was halted after a row between captain Patrice Evra and fitness coach Robert Duverne.
Domenech had to move in to separate the pair and soon after the incident the players then left the pitch and boarded the team bus.
The squad have released a letter revealing that they refused to train because of Anelka's expulsion from the team.
It said: "With this statement, all the players in the France squad without exception want to declare their opposition to the decision taken by the French Football Federation to exclude Nicolas Anelka from the squad.
"If we regret the incident which occurred at half-time of the match between France and Mexico, we regret even more the leak of an event which should have remained within the group and which is quite common in a high-level team.
"At the request of the squad, the player in question attempted to have dialogue but his approach was ignored.
"For its part, the French Football Federation has at no time tried to protect the squad.
"It has made a decision (to send Anelka home) without consulting all the players, on the basis of the facts reported by the press.
"Accordingly, and to mark the opposition to those at the highest level of French football, all the players decided not to train today.
"Out of respect for the public who came to attend training, we decided to go to meet the fans who, by their presence, showed their full support.
"For our part, we are aware of our responsibilities as those wearing the colours of our country. Also for those we have towards our fans and countless children who keep Les Bleus as role models.
"We forget none of our duties.
"We will do everything individually and also in a collective spirit to ensure that France regains its honour with a positive performance on Tuesday."
France team director Jean-Louis Valentin revealed he has resigned from the French football federation, shouting he was "ashamed" of the team.
"It's a scandal for the French, for the young people here. It's a scandal for the federation and the French team," Valentin said. "They don't want to train. It's unacceptable.
"It is for the players to tell you why (they refuse to train).
"As for me, it's over. I'm leaving the federation. I'm sickened and disgusted."