Volleyball coach follows Domenech's lead

PARIS, Oct 7 (Reuters) - France's volleyball team has followed the hardline lead of its football counterparts by sending home a key player from the world championships for indiscipline.

Four months after striker Nicolas Anelka was dramatically expelled from the French World Cup squad for insulting coach Raymond Domenech, Earvin Ngapeth has been booted out of the Volleyball World Championships for poor behaviour.

"Following a quarrel in the locker room after the France v Japan match, because of breaches of discipline and behaviour inconsistent with the life of the team, Earvin Ngapeth is excluded from the event," the French federation said in a statement.

France made it to the third round of the world championships in Italy, but failed to reach the semi-finals following consecutive defeats to the United States and the host nation.

Coach Philippe Blain announced that Ngapeth, 19, was sent packing after lunch on Wednesday, just a few hours before his team lost 3-1 to Italy.

"I wanted to protect the team but it was a mistake because instead of preserving the squad, it just sapped its strength," Blain was quoted as saying in French media.

"I should have made this decision two or three days before, it would have benefited everyone. A team is a social entity, there are rules and you have to respect them, otherwise you are punished."

Ngapeth, the son of former international player Eric, is considered one of France's top prospects but has repeatedly complained he has been overlooked.