Backlash against France ringleaders continues

PARIS - Jacques Rousselot, chairman of Ligue 1 club Nancy, has called for the ringleaders behind a boycott of a France training session at last month's World Cup to be kicked out of the squad.

Rousselot, who is also a member of the federal council of the French Football Federation (FFF), made his plea on the eve of an FFF meeting to discuss the team's failure in South Africa.

The 1998 champions failed to record a win as they were knocked out in the first round. Players also boycotted a training session to protest after striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for insulting coach Raymond Domenech.

"We know the five leaders. They must not play again for the national team," Rousselot told Reuters on Thursday.

Earlier this month former France defender Lilian Thuram also asked the FFF council, of which he is a member, to "sanction the players heavily".

"For instance, captain Patrice Evra must never be called up again," said Thuram who won a record 142 caps for Les Bleus.

On Friday the council will also discuss playmaker Franck Ribery and striker Karim Benzema who have been placed under judicial investigation on suspicion of soliciting sex with an under-age prostitute.

Ribery was a member of the squad in South Africa but Benzema was left out of the World Cup.

Health and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot and junior sports minister Rama Yade have said any player under judicial investigation should not represent France.

Fernand Duchaussoy, set to be appointed on Friday as caretaker president of the FFF after Jean-Pierre Escalettes handed in his resignation on July 2, feels the same.

"I don't see how a player under judicial investigation could be called up for international duties," he was quoted as saying by the daily Le Parisien on Thursday.

The council must also look at the future of Domenech whose contract as coach ends on July 31.

"If Domenech is a gentleman he will go of his own will. Several council members believe he can't stay," Rousselot told Reuters.

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