Sunday, June 20, 2010

Les Bleus Strike

The French National Team players refused to participate in today's practice, and issued the statement below explaining why:
With this statement, all players of French National Team, without exception, assert their opposition to the decision taken by the French Football Federation to exclude Nicolas Anelka from the squad. If we regret the incident that occurred at halftime during the match between France and Mexico, we regret even more this use of an event that belongs to our group, and which is inherent to the life of a high level team. At the group's request, the player in question made an attempt at dialogue, but his approach was deliberately ignored. For its part, the French Football Federation has at no time tried to protect the team. It made this decision without consulting the players, on the basis of the facts reported by the press alone. Accordingly, and to mark out their opposition to the highest level of French football, all of the players decided not to participate in the workout. Out of respect for the public who came to attend this practice session, we decided to only attend the meeting with the fans, who by their presence bring us their full support. For our part, we are aware of our responsibilities, those of wearing the colors of our country, as well as those we have towards our fans and their leaders, toward educators, volunteers and the countless children who look up to Les Bleus as role models. For our part, we forget none of our responsibilities. We will do everything we can as individuals, of course, but with a collective spirit so that France can recover its honor on Tuesday evening with, finally, a positive performance.
The statement was read by Domenech (see this Canal + story). Apparently Jean-Louis Valentin, the FFF's team deputy director, responded to the cancellation of the public practice session in anger and declared he was going back to Paris and resigning his position "in disgust". For the story (in French), see L'Équipe's "Players Organize Against The FFF (French Football Federation)". It is a World Cup of strikes, inside and outside the stadium. Allez les Bleus!


  1. Thanks for the translation, Jennifer. To me this invocation of the "esprit collectif" redeems the event for France - it is hard to do creative work under tight controls.

    I quite like imagining the document as a work in process, Franck Ribéry squinting into his laptop late at night (the workmanlike Ribéry, of course, drafted into the word-processing role), William Gallas and Thierry Henry gesturing behind at a clandestine meeting in their hotel room, protesting, "No, no ... the comma must go here. ... It does not need to be so long, short and to the point." Lilian Thuram is available over Skype to settle disputes over sourcing. As they work, the team's daily astrological forecast slides under the hotel room door. They look at each other knowingly and press forward.

  2. Oh, hilarious. Love how ESPN reports Evra's statement to the staff, explaining that the team were in essence mounting a strike action, as an "incident" - as if Evra lost his temper.

  3. The French press are calling it La Fronde contre la FFF. Im glad the players stood up to the FFF, I just don't understand their unequivocal support for Domenech, who clearly has lost any sort of influence in the dressing room. 'L'affaire Anelka'or something similiar was just waiting to happen. And did you hear Evra say 'there is a traitor in the French team'? Ribéry, in tears on French tv? I think Laurent Blanc will have his work cut out for him.


Feedback? Let me know what you think. Just an FYI: all comments posted to this blog are recorded, whether I publish them or not. I do not publish generally hateful comments - whether they be directed at me or at players and teams or other readers. I appreciate reader feedback, especially from those whose contributions add nuance and complexity to the story.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...