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Franck Ribéry

French football team: six foot under, but still digging!

By Matthieu Boisseau

The age of mea culpa, apologies and humility after the French team's disastrous World Cup 2010 appears to have been a short-lived one. While Raymond Domenech is demanding  a compensation of over £2.5m from the French Football Federation (FFF) for “unfair dismissal” (for more details, click here), the players stand accused of breaking the promise they had made to refuse any financial rewards related to their (catastrophic) performance in South Africa. It appears they are unfamiliar with the term "keeping a low profile".


Have they already forgotten that their shameful behaviour and poor performance were mocked around the world ? Although the list is too long to be exhaustive, here is a quick reminder of the best "plays" of the French Football's players. Enjoy !

- Nicolas Anelka was sent home by Domenech, his coach, after he insulted him during the  France-Mexico half time. France finally lost 2-0 to Mexico.

- William Gallas flipped a journalist off after their elimination.

- The French team boycotted one of their practice session. This was received with horror by the French public.

- Franck Ribéry was mired in a sex scandal for having had sex with a prostitute under the age of 18.


L'Equipe disclosed Anelka's insults
L'Equipe disclosed Anelka's insults

As a consequence, to appologise to his nation and the fans, captain Patrice Evra declared that according to an agreement signed with the FFF, the players would give up their £4.1 million bonus (to be shared) for their World Cup participation. Following France's loss in its final group match against South Africa, he claimed : “We won’t accept one cent from the sponsors and others”. This declaration was considered as a sensible decision  from Domenech's gang, as it proved that they realised that they had shocked France's population with their rock-stars' tantrums and antics.


However, five months after the squad's pathetic sit-in on the team bus that horrified the French public, it turns out that Evra's announcement was too hasty and confused. What did the “bonuses” refer to ?  Contrary to what Evra declared, this was not explicitly stated in any contract. Les Bleus have intended to benefit from this “legal limbo” to renegotiate their tacit agreement with the FFF. The Federation expected this contract to make up a £1.17 million annual deficit caused by a World Cup campaign marked by a squad mutiny and the failure to win a single match. The deal was quite simple : as players are responsible for this loss of earnings, they should contribute towards refinancing the Federation. 

Knysna's strike
Knysna's strike

However, this would imply that the players were actually courageous enough to face  up to their responsibilities, and that an ounce of patriotism and honour would have made them want to put their mistakes right. We were quite naive. The fact is that, unsurprisingly enough, individualism, egotism, and meanness are the mottoes of this shameful team. To be more precise, the players actually agreed to the renunciation of their bonuses for having failed to meet the minimum requirement of qualifying for the second round, and yet refuse to give up their annual marketing revenues. In other words, they admit they failed on the grass, but deny having tarnished France's image. They choose the ease way indeed.


France's Losing it
France's losing it











This controversy also highlights the fact that the team was split by several gangs. Likewise the Knysna strike had been orchestrated by a small group of “leaders”, captain Patrice Evra did not consult his team-mates before his announcement, whose goal was obviously to restore his own battered reputation.  Training boycott, bonuses gate, poor performances : from start to finish, French players have really made us ashamed.

Meanwhile, Raymond keeps himself busy by playing poker.


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