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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Domenech rekindles Makelele row
France coach Raymond Domenech
Domenech is sticking to his guns over Makelele
France coach Raymond Domenech has re-opened the row with Chelsea over Claude Makelele by insisting national teams take priority over clubs.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho accused Domenech of treating Makelele "like a slave" by refusing to accept his retirement from international football.

"Makelele has not retired. He plays for a club, and he has a soccer player's license," said Domenech.

"As long as he is performing, he will play. I have the right to pick him."

Domenech insisted that Fifa rules provide national associations with backing in disputes with clubs over international selection.

He said: "The rules set by Fifa are strict and give us a lot of possibilities, otherwise we can see how difficult it would be to build up teams."

Domenech added: "The enormity of his Mourinho's words makes them laughable," .

"Makelele is stuck in the middle. He is suffering from both sides. I have the whip in my hand and Chelsea has other arguments."

Makelele could miss two Chelsea games for every game for France he misses.

The Chelsea midfielder tried to calm down the row over his call-up to the France squad for the upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers.

The 33-year-old came out of international retirement to help France qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals and now faces a domestic ban if he fails to report.

Makelele says he will honour his call-up and told French TV station TPS: "My coach's (Mourinho) words are a bit strong."

He added: "He's probably gone too far. But his disappointment is logical.

"Even if my club doesn't agree, I will humbly honour that call.

"There was an agreement after the World Cup that I would retire," said Makelele.

"But I spoke with the French team coach and he believes I am still able to bring something extra to the team.

"I don't blame him (Domenech) for anything and I will go back and play with France."

Makelele is not a football player - Makelele is a slave

Jose Mourinho

"It is normal to wear my country's shirt. The French team remains something huge to me.

"Everyone knows me. Above all I am a professional and I do my job."

Fifa says any player is allowed to retire from international football as long as they inform the coach before the next squad is announced.

"The situation is that any player is free to decide that he is not playing for his national team," said Fifa spokesman Andreas Herren.

"There is no Fifa rule to prevent any player stopping his international career, that's up to him.

"The one thing that has to be considered is that the intention to leave a national team or put an end to an international career needs to be communicated prior to a specific summons."

606 VIEW

Mourinho's outburst came after Chelsea's win over Blackburn on Sunday.

"Makelele is not a football player - Makelele is a slave," he said.

"He's played the biggest game you can, the World Cup final, and now wants to retire but the coach told us if he is not playing for France, he is not playing for Chelsea," said Mourinho.

"We know the rules. You are a slave, you have no human rights."

Chelsea are set to hold further talks with the French Football Federation about the matter.

"Chelsea believe that a player should have the freedom to choose about his own international career, especially in the case of Claude who has served his country at the highest level and with distinction for several years," the club said in a statement.

"This view was expressed to the French national coach Raymond Domenech in a meeting last week at our training ground.

"We understand the letter of the law is very clear on this subject, and the ramifications for Claude and Chelsea if he is called up but does not play.

"We would like to stress that this is not a club versus country issue; we are not seeking conflict with the FFF.

"This issue is about supporting the wishes of one of our players whose past commitment to his country cannot be called into question."

France deliver Makelele warning
25 Aug 06 |  Chelsea


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