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Anelka laughs off France ban

18 Aug 2010 - 09:59:15

Nicolas Anelka has laughed off the 18-match suspension from the French national team which has effectively ended his international career.

The Chelsea striker was handed the punishment by the French Football Federation on Tuesday following his conduct at the recent World Cup in South Africa.

The 31-year-old was sent home from a tournament in which Les Bleus failed to win a game following a row with coach Raymond Domenech.

Anelka's bust-up with his now former international coach came at half-time in their second match of a turbulent tournament, which ended in 2-0 defeat to Mexico.

The French players subsequently refused to train in the build-up to a 2-1 defeat to South Africa which ended their hopes of reaching the second round.

However, following a disciplinary hearing in Paris, Anelka has laughed off the lengthy punishment which was handed down.

The 69-times capped striker did not attend the hearing which also resulted in shorter bans for international captain Patrice Evra, plus team-mates Franck Ribery and Jeremy Toulalan.

"For me, this whole commission thing is a nonsense, a charade not to lose face," Anelka told France-Soir.

"The so-called punishment has no relevance whatsoever because, for me, the French national team was an issue which ended on June 19 when I was kicked out of the training centre at Knysna.

"This is just to entertain the public, to turn the page because (new coach) Laurent Blanc needs to be able to work in peace.

"These people are clowns. I am dying with laughter."


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