Union criticises Thauvin over strike
The head of the French footballers' union has called Florian Thauvin's decision to go on strike to force a move out of Lille "indefensible", but blamed the clubs and the transfer system for the row.
Instead of training with his team-mates on Tuesday, Thauvin, 20, was at the home of his parents in Orleans in an attempt to force the northern French club into allowing him to leave, despite him having not yet played a game for them.
Superb with Bastia last season, the Under-20 World Cup winner signed a four-year deal with Lille in January before being allowed to finish the campaign on loan in Corsica. However, with Rene Girard having replaced Rudi Garcia as coach at the Grande Stade and the team having missed out on the Champions League, Thauvin hopes to force his new club into allowing him to complete a move to Marseille, who have already had two offers rejected.
"He's indefensible, because there are rules and he is perhaps going to be punished. But it's not him who invented the transfer system, it's the clubs," Philippe Piat, 71, told the media. "He's indirectly taking advantage of the system by saying, 'I'm not more stupid than the others, and if they want to sell me next year, they'll put pressure on me by playing me in the reserves so that I accept a transfer.' It's a passing phenomenon. The player is wrong, but the principles have to be changed. The clubs criticising OM do exactly the same thing."
Lille president Michel Seydoux stated earlier in the week he was "99.9% certain" Thauvin would remain at the club, and the 2010-11 double winners' director general, Frederic Paquet, reinforced the message that only a massive offer would tempt them into selling.
"We're calmly waiting for him to come back to training, but we're not going to welcome him with a bouquet of flowers. He's been throwing us a tantrum for three months, and we're not giving in and we won't give in," Paquet told L'Equipe. "In principle, of course he's 'un-transferable'. But if we get an offer above the market value, we'll look at it, without necessarily accepting it. That's the case for Florian Thauvin, and is the case for all the players in the squad. Fundamentally, nothing's changed."
He added: "If he doesn't want to come back, it's his problem. He has a contract which ties him to Lille. What does he want to do with his career? He has the choice of playing football again or not. He doesn't realise all the harm he's doing to himself. I'm convinced that he's very, very badly advised."