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Roma's chance to bounce back

AS Roma
By ESPN Staff

Domenech blasts 'scandalous' Gallas claims

Coach Raymond Domenech has waded into the row between Chelsea and their former player William Gallas by revealing the French camp were laughing about the Premiership champions.

Chelsea took the unprecedented step of issuing a statement that alleged Gallas had threatened to score an own goal if he was selected for their opening game of the season against Manchester City.

The west Londoners also insisted that Gallas told them he would get himself sent off or make deliberate mistakes and had twice refused to play for the club while in a dispute over his future at Stamford Bridge.

The French defender, currently preparing for tomorrow night's Euro 2008 qualifier against Italy, has since rejected their accusations and labelled Chelsea as `lacking class'.

Now Domenech, already at odds with the English club over his selection of Chelsea's veteran midfielder Claude Makelele, has defender his central defender by insisting that Gallas, sold to Arsenal on transfer deadline day, is not a `traitor'.

Domenech declared: 'William Gallas is not a traitor! Thinking Gallas could betray his team-mates is scandalous.

'I am disappointed that people could think or suppose that. William proved in the past and today that he is a true defender, it is scandalous thinking that of him.

'I am happy because I do nothing in this case, it is a problem between Arsenal and Chelsea but I can say we burst out laughing with William.

'It was funny to see that from Chelsea. William is not disturbed by that. He trained as a great champion.'

Gallas is unlikely to face any action from the Football Association after allegedly threatening to score in his own net.

The allegations, if substantiated, could have put the French defender in line for a Football Association charge of bringing the game into disrepute but the FA played down suggestions they would become involved in an issue that would be difficult to prove either way.

Gallas is alleged to have made his threat in a meeting with Mourinho and in front of other witnesses and while Chelsea have made this public, the champions are not planning to supply the FA with any statements from individuals.