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Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 11:29 UK

Fifa chief warns French president

French president Nicolas Sarkozy
Sarkozy made his disgust clear after France's World Cup farce

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has warned France may be banned from international football if its government interferes in the running of the national side.

Blatter said he was sending a "clear and clean message" to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who criticised the team after a dismal World Cup campaign.

Sarkozy has pledged to personally lead an investigation into what went wrong.

But Blatter insisted the governing body would oppose "political interference, even if it is at presidential level."

Les Bleus finished bottom of their World Cup group and were plagued by problems on and off the pitch.

Forward Nicolas Anelka was sent home after refusing to apologise for verbally abusing coach Raymond Domenech, whose six-year reign ended with France's exit.

If it cannot be solved by consultation, then the only thing we have is to suspend the federation

Fifa president Sepp Blatter

The rest of the squad then boycotted a training session in protest, and captain Patrice Evra was involved in a row with fitness coach Robert Duverne.

Sarkozy has called for change within the French Football Federation (FFF), and during the tournament in South Africa he asked his sports minister Roselyne Bachelot to speak to the players, leaving them in no doubt about his view of their conduct.

Since the squad's return to France, Sarkozy has held talks with striker and former captain Thierry Henry, while Jean-Pierre Escalettes has resigned as FFF president.

The FFF has issued an apology to the French public and been savaged by the media, but Blatter is adamant that interference from governments in its affairs will not be tolerated.

"In France they have made an 'affair d'etat' with football, but football remains in the hands of the federation," said Blatter.

"We will help the national association and if it cannot be solved by consultation, then the only thing we have is to suspend the federation.

"Definitely, I can tell you that political interference will be dealt with by Fifa notwithstanding what kind of interference and what is the size of the country."

Fifa rules demand that national federations manage their affairs independently or face suspension from international football.



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see also
Blatter sorry for disallowed goal
29 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Fifa evades technology questions
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
French government in finals probe
25 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
France players return to training
21 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Anelka sent home for coach insult
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Anelka row sparks player revolt
20 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
France squad statement in full
20 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
French chief quits after 'fiasco'
28 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
The end of the road for France
22 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Blanc appointed new France boss
02 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: France
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010


FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Qatar Peninsula Domenech takes stand in French Cup inquest - 8 hrs ago
Electric New Paper Domenech, Escalattes, to explain disaster - 9 hrs ago
The Independent Domenech gets a grilling from the French government - 10 hrs ago
Arab News France denies interference, keeps debating - 10 hrs ago
CapitalFM Domenech faces inquest - 15 hrs ago


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