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Anelka laughs off 18-match ban

sports Updated: Aug 18, 2010 23:44 IST

Agencies
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Nicolas Anelka has described the French Football Federation (FFF) as a "bunch of clowns" after they handed the striker an 18-game international ban for his role in the national team's World Cup revolt in South Africa.

The 31-year-old was handed the suspension by an FFF disciplinary commission on Tuesday, a decision derided by Anelka, who said he never intended to play for France again anyway.

"For me, that commission thing is absolute nonsense, an aberration, a farce, an attempt not to lose face," Anelka was quoted as saying by daily France Soir on Wednesday.

"They just entertained the public," Anelka said of the commission hearing.

"They'd better turn the page because (new France coach) Laurent Blanc needs to work in peace. These people are clowns," he added.

"For me, since the World Cup in South Africa, the France team is all in the past. I wear a blue shirt with Chelsea every weekend and that's far enough for me." The striker did not attend the hearing.

Patrice Evra was banned for five matches for leading a boycott in support of Anelka. The FFF also banned Franck Ribery for three games and Jeremy Toulalan for one. Eric Abidal was the only one of five players involved in Tuesday's hearing to escape without sanction.

Ribery accepted his ban but felt the players at the hearing had been cast as scapegoats.

"What happened at the World Cup happened to all of us.

“I do not know why only five players had to go to Paris (for the hearing)."

Unlike Anelka, however, Ribery plans to continue playing for France.

Italian racism burnt says Balotelli

Rome: Young Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli has spoken out about the pain of suffering racial abuse from fans in his homeland, following his big money move to the English Premier League.

Balotelli spoke about the trauma of being racially abused, in particular from certain sections of the Juventus crowd.

"I had to learn to live with racism in Italy, to pretend it was nothing, but it burnt. In England that doesn't happen. But it shouldn't happen anywhere."

Nasri out for a month with knee injury

London: Arsenal's France midfielder Samir Nasri will be sidelined for a month following knee surgery, the Premier League club said on Wednesday. "Samir Nasri will today undergo minor surgery on his knee following a meniscal injury sustained against Liverpool. "Nasri, who has been in impressive form, will be out of action for a month," said the club on their website.