Aulas: Domenech pressured star
By Patrick Haond
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jean-Michel Aulas has accused Raymond Domenech of putting pressure on Eric Abidal.
Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas has accused Raymond Domenech of putting pressure on Eric Abidal after the defender went against his club's wishes and decided to play in France's friendly with Slovakia.
The full back has only just returned to action after a foot injury sustained in his previous outing with the national side and Lyon boss Gerard Houllier reacted with anger at the news of his call-up.
Whilst the club petitioned the French Football Federation to excuse their star, Abidal risked the wrath of OL officials when he announced he was ready to represent Les Bleus.
However, Aulas has now suggested that Abidal's decision was a result of pressurising tactics from Domenech - who Aulas believes used the World Cup finals as an incentive for the defender to play.
"I am very surprised," said Aulas.
"Gerard Houllier and our doctor met Eric last week to give their opinion on that call and tell about the risks he will take.
"I know Raymond, he is persuasive.
"I would not want him to put Eric in front of an awful choice, and talk about his participation to the Wednesday match and his place in the World Cup.
"I am worried with the nature of the talks he had with the national coach.
"I took the player's word just like the one he had before the match in the French Antilles, where he got injured.
"I can understand he shows his desire to play the World Cup, I don't think there could be any sanction.
"I estimate the club, which paid him during five months of injury, has to give his word.
"Then you have to consider everything, even the player is talking under the coach's pressure.
"Ask yourself why he has changed his mind."
Another Lyon star with injuries on his mind is Sidney Govou, as the forward has been ruled out of action for three weeks after sustaining a shoulder injury.
Govou fell awkwardly at a friend's house and dislocated his shoulder after the surprise 4-1 defeat to Rennes at the weekend.