Apologies instantly to Tony who, commenting on the last piece, thought one bite at la cerise of French football was already more than enough.
Jeremy Robson, who clearly puts my stance on Evra, Anelka et al on a par with the way his ancestors regarded wicked coalowners, simply wouldn’t shut up. His thoughts are now published uninterrupted after an earlier technical glitch …
It was interesting to see the quotations from the “punished” French players referring to “being on strike” rather than “being banned”.
One thing is for certain, and that it that you can no longer kill someone who is already dead, any more than you can effectively blacklist players who have already withdrawn their labour.
This utterly futile attempt by the FFF illustrates firstly the toothless nature of their organisation, but also a beautiful irony when you consider that Nicolas Anelka has already been punished by being exiled from the World Cup Finals, following his well documented outburst at the ridiculous Raymond Domenech who looks better suited to be working behind the counter in a Dijon toy shop than in the dug out of the national team.
The irony is that Anelka has already been punished, so why has he been given an 18-game ban which effectively ends his international career?
He had already withdrawn from playing for the national team so what is the point of banning him? Furthermore if they wanted to end his career why didn’t they just invoke a lifetime ban for him and say so clearly?
Maybe it’s because there is no political will to “rehabilitate” Anelka in a similar way to the Scots were prepared to overturn the life time ban for Allan McGregor following a change of management.
Barry Ferguson (banned at the same time as McGregor) “retired” from international football in the wake of his exclusion so has denied Craig Levein and the SFA from that opportunity.
It raises the question of what a ban is for and what the authority hope to achieve by it. Was the real motivation to give Anelka a long term ban which could then be negotiated down following his presumed appeal at having been treated so harshly?
George Bernard Shaw once said “self sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing”.
He could well have been speaking of Anelka, who effectively sacrificed himself to topple the hapless coach. Speaking impartially, I have to say that someone needed to do it.
Had the unfortunate chain of events stopped there, then the outcome for both Anelka and Domenech may well have been different, and the national purge may well have been unnecessary. The chain of events didn’t stop and the French team, presumably less familiar with the philosophy of George Bernard Shaw and more at home with the works of Rousseau and Robespierre took it upon themselves to support their exiled team mate, which was well intentioned but which may have ultimately led to Anelka receiving even further punishment and detracting the spotlight away from the source of the problem which was the coach.
Had they all kept quiet and just got on with it, the focus would have been very much on the incompetence of Domenech and not on their impromptu withdrawal of labour. Anelka may well have been prepared to sacrifice himself and to resist blushing at highlighting Domenech’s inadequacies in the process.
As things atand, he probably wishes that the rest of his teammates had not made such a public stand as otherwise he would have probably been given a four game ban and been back in Blanc’s squad before the end of the season.
The unfortunate thing about all of this is that the only person who’s thoughts are clear in this whole episode are those of Anelka. Those of the other participants, ie the players, Raymond Domenech and the FFF are hidden beneath plot and sub plot.