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Saturday, July 3, 2010
Anelka 'will never play for France again'

Soccernet staff

Outgoing French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes is adamant that Nicolas Anelka will never play for France again after the striker's World Cup ended in disgrace.

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Anelka's outburst at Raymond Domenech during half-time of France's defeat at the hands of Mexico resulted in his explusion from the squad, and the incident acted as the catalyst for the extraordinary scenes that saw les Bleus players refuse to train ahead of their final group game against South Africa.

That game also ended in defeat and, as France returned home after a shameful campaign, the government ordered an inquest into events at the World Cup.

Transcripts from the Cultural Affairs Committee of the National Assembly were published on Saturday, and Escalettes, who resigned from his role due to the embarrassing events in South Africa, made clear that Anelka would not be welcomed back into the national fold.

"Neither I nor my successor nor the future coach will forget what happened and everyone will ensure that he cannot play for France,'' Escalettes said at the meeting.

Regarding the incident in the dressing room, when Anelka abused Domenech, Escalettes said: "I only knew what I read in L'Equipe. As soon as I knew, and having made a minimum of checks - a player told me that the remarks were worse than reported - I immediately punished the perpetrator of this insult."

Domenech also appeared in front of the committee as it sought to ascertain the reasons behind the events that shamed French football. The outgoing coach was asked to explain why he refused the handshake of Carlos Alberto Parreira and explained it was due to his South Africa counterpart's criticisms of the way that France qualified for the World Cup thanks to Thierry Henry's handball in a play-off against Republic of Ireland.

"The whole of France being well-meaning and so quick to make moral [judgements] found no fault with the accusations of Mr Parreira," Domenech told the committee. "It is important for me to defend the image of the France team. I probably did not measure the negative media coverage of my gesture. I probably should have told him directly and discreetly."

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