Domenech stands firm on Abidal
By Patrick Haond
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Eric Abidal could play for France against Slovakia despite pressure from Lyon.
Eric Abidal could still play for France against Slovakia despite pressure from Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas not to select the defender.
Abidal will not start the friendly game in Paris but the controversy regarding his selection is refusing to go away.
France coach Raymond Domenech is upset with the way the affair has been handled as the player returns from a foot injury, with Lyon's focus very much on their UEFA Champions League campaign.
"We decided that Eric even had an MRI scan on Monday to get all the certainties we needed," explained Domenech.
"He is perfectly keen to play, he even told me that himself.
"I would have just accepted not to play him if my (FFF) chairman Jean-Pierre Escalettes would have told me.
"He didn't do it and I thank him for letting me be free with my sporting choices.
"I have never accepted any pressure from anyone to play or not play a player. If not, the national coach's job would not exist any more!
"I took precautions. I called Mr [Lyon boss Gerard] Houllier to have a talk.
"I told him something he revealed to the press and I was disappointed with it," complained the France coach.
"It should have remained private.
"I told him I would manage Eric's playing time and I was even keen to make him play just one half in the centre to have less runs.
"I thought we had agreed on principle.
"I didn't expect it to get to these proportions, but controversy won't change my choices."