Sunday 26 March 2017

French players' statement in full

"With this statement, all the players in the France squad without exception want to declare their opposition to the decision taken by the French Football Federation to exclude Nicolas Anelka from the squad.

"If we regret the incident which occurred at half-time of the match between France and Mexico, we regret even more the leak of an event which should have remained within the group and which is quite common in a high-level team.

"At the request of the squad, the player in question attempted to have dialogue but his approach was ignored.

"For its part, the French Football Federation has at no time tried to protect the squad.

"It has made a decision (to send Anelka home) without consulting all the players, on the basis of the facts reported by the press.

"Accordingly, and to mark the opposition to those at the highest level of French football, all the players decided not to train today.

"Out of respect for the public who came to attend training, we decided to go to meet the fans who, by their presence, showed their full support.

"For our part, we are aware of our responsibilities as those wearing the colours of our country and also for those we have towards our fans and countless children who keep Les Bleus as role models.

"We forget none of our duties.

"We will do everything individually and also in a collective spirit to ensure that France regains its honour with a positive performance on Tuesday."

Irish Independent

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