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Feb 1, 2013

M'Vila ban reduced

Yann M'Vila will have a chance of playing for France in the 2014 World Cup after the French Football Federation reduced his international ban.

M'Vila, 22, had been banned from representing his country until July 2014 as punishment for being one of five players who made a near 400 kilometre round-trip by taxi from the Normandy coast to a Paris nightclub while on international duty with France's Under-21 squad in October.

After a 30-minute appeal hearing in front of the FFF's Superior Appeals Commission on Thursday, M'Vila's original ban was upheld, though the last four months - from March 1 to June 30, 2014 - are now suspended, meaning he will be available to be selected for the tournament in Brazil.

However, the fact he will have played no part in qualifying nor the majority of the friendlies in the build-up to the tournament greatly diminishes his chances of being included.

The four other players involved, M'Vila's former Rennes team-mate Chris Mavinga, Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann, Mbaye Niang of AC Milan and Toulouse striker Wissam ben Yedder, were suspended from international duty until the end of 2013.

M'Vila was given an exemplary punishment due to the fact he had already played for the senior national side. He had also received an FFF reprimand and was warned about his future conduct following his refusal to shake the hand of then-France coach Laurent Blanc after being substituted during Euro 2012.

"We consider nothing in the procedure shows Yann played the role of a leader. I don't consider the warning he got last July should be taken into account in this case," M'Vila's lawyer, Thierry Fillion, had argued before Thursday's appeal. "He just wants to be treated the same as the others."

Ben Yedder was the only other player among the quintet to appeal, and had his hearing on January 15. The decision, which also saw the last three months of his ban suspended, was delayed until after M'Vila's case had been heard. The former Rennes player was due to appear before the commission on February 5, but his hearing was brought forward to allow him to join up earlier with his new club, Rubin Kazan.

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