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Oct 22, 2013

Cabaye: France unaffected by Evra row

Former world champions France will play Ukraine for a place in the World Cup finals in Brazil next year following the draw for the European playoffs

Yohan Cabaye has said France teammate Patrice Evra's dispute with four French TV pundits does not concern the rest of the squad.

Patrice Evra is desperate to win a title with France
Patrice Evra is desperate to win a title with France

The French Football Federation (FFF) has asked Evra, 32, to explain an interview in which he called some critics "tramps" and "parasites".

The Manchester United full-back specifically referred to former French players Bixente Lizarazu, Luis Fernandez and Rolland Courbis, as well as journalist Pierre Menes.

But Newcastle midfielder Cabaye, 27, believes the high-profile war of words has little to do with anyone else.

"Pat is big enough to know what he said," he told Le Parisien. "It's a personal problem between him and the four people that he named.

"The French team aren't too involved in it. This story only concerns him."

But Franck Leboeuf, a former teammate of both Lizarazu and current France boss Didier Deschamps, was heavily critical of Evra.

"If I was his teammate, I would have called him and asked 'but why now?'," the 1998 World Cup winner told RMC Sport. "He's screwing over Didier Deschamps.

"It's become national and because the French team has a very bad image at the moment, we jump on it and go overboard. In the end, everyone is going to suffer. We didn't need that."

Evra could potentially miss the World Cup playoff against Ukraine if the FFF decides to sanction him, and Leboeuf is worried that the controversy could impact on the team's chances of reaching Brazil.  

"The power of the media could turn against the French team," the former Chelsea centre-back said. "Patrice Evra is a member of the French team, and we'll have to see how the fans react.

"It wasn't really the time to do it since we were starting to find some stability and some positive things in our play and our attitude. We've just gone two steps back even though we had only just gone one forward."

The latest negative reaction from outside the French camp came as Noel Le Graet, the FFF president, tried to play the incident down.

"I know he's made a mistake," Le Graet told reporters after the play-off draw in Zurich. "He knows it too… We'll see after this meeting what decision will be taken."

"I'm sorry for his comments and I'm sorry about the timing," he continued. "That's why we invited him to explain himself as soon as possible.  

"I'm obviously sorry for his remarks, and if I need to I apologise on behalf of the FFF to the four journalists: I'll do it in front of you… it's a regrettable incident, but it's not the end of the world.

"Patrice Evra is someone who I like and in this interview, which started well, I felt him getting worked up and having difficulty controlling himself.

"He said what he was thinking, which was bad… It's a sensitive person who slipped up, it's true, but again it's not the end of the world."

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