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M'Vila a scapegoat, lawyer says

Yann M'Vila's lawyer has described the France international as a scapegoat after the French Football Federation (FFF) banned him from international action until the summer of 2014.

M'Vila, a midfielder with Rennes, broke a curfew as he attended a nightclub in Paris while on duty with the France Under-21 side last month. The incident occurred three days before a play-off defeat in Norway that saw Les Bleuets fail to qualify for the 2013 European Under-21 Football Championship in Israel, and he was handed a ban until June 30, 2014, this week.

Four other players involved in the nightclub visit - Wissam Ben Yedder, Chris Mavinga, Mbaye Niang and Antoine Griezmann - were banned until December 31, 2013, and Maitre Fillion, M'Vila's lawyer, believes his client has been treated unfairly.

"He is quite depressed," Fillion told AFP. "We are thinking about a possible appeal. For me, M'Vila's ban is disproportionate, but it doesn't surprise me given all the hype that surrounded the case. I wonder about the meaning of this decision, which makes M'Vila a scapegoat."

Christophe Bouchet, a candidate for the FFF presidency, also expressed surprise at the decision. "This does not seem serious to me," the former Marseille president said. "We don't do authority anymore but authoritarianism. It is true that these players have to take responsibility and I agree that a sanction was necessary, but this is a little bit too much. It's not instructive at all. There is an obvious injustice to these players."

In July, the FFF had issued M'Vila with a warning after he refused to shake manager Laurent Blanc's hand when substituted in the 2-0 defeat to Spain at Euro 2012. After this latest controversy, he has accepted that he has failed to live up to expected standards, saying he has "failed in his role as big brother".

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