Former France international Lilian Thuram has said that current captain Patrice Evra should never be allowed to represent his country again due to his leading role in the FIFA World Cup™ player revolt.
"I asked for the players to be severely punished and for Patrice Evra never to come back into the France team," said Thuram during a meeting of the French Football Federation's (FFF) federal council of which he is a member. "When you are captain of France, there is a responsibility and a respect for the shirt and for people that you have to have."
Thuram, who reported his comments to the media after the conclusion of the meeting, did not reveal how his recommendation was received. Manchester United left-back Evra was reportedly a central figure in the France squad's decision to boycott a training session in protest at the exclusion of Nicolas Anelka after he clashed with coach Raymond Domenech.
The players remained on the team bus after arriving at a scheduled public training session and issued a statement explaining the reason for their protest that was read to the media by Domenech, whose contract as France coach has now expired. "When the players shut themselves in the bus and it was the coach who read the statement, that showed that the coach was no longer respected," said Thuram. "The players were incapable of realising certain things."
France were eliminated at the group stage after drawing with Uruguay and losing to Mexico and South Africa. Thuram was capped 142 times by France and played at right-back in the team that won the FIFA World Cup on home soil in 1998, scoring twice - his only international goals - in the 2-1 semi-final defeat of Croatia.
"The problem came from a lack of authority (from Domenech), so that the players could remain players," continued Thuram. "The power was taken by the players because the federation no longer had authority through the coach. Raymond Domenech was an employee of the federation. If he didn't do what the federation asked for, they should have reacted."
Thuram's remarks followed a meeting of the FFF's top brass in which Laurent Blanc, Thuram's former France team-mate, was officially appointed the new head coach of the national side. Blanc, who led Bordeaux to the French league title in 2009, is scheduled to make his first media appearance in his new role next Tuesday.
The FFF were also expected to announce a successor to Jean-Pierre Escalettes, who on Monday announced his decision to step down as federation president in the wake of the FIFA World Cup fiasco. A four-hour meeting of the federal council's 21 members failed to yield a solution though, with Escalettes announcing that he will stay on in his role until July 23, when a new president will be elected.