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Aug 18, 2010

Anelka 'dying with laughter' after 18-game ban

Nicolas Anelka says he is "dying with laughter" after learning that the French Football Federation has banned him for 18 international matches, and claims his career with les Bleus is already at an end.

• FFF deals out punishments
• Forum: Do you back the bans?

The FFF announced the severe punishment after a hearing on Tuesday that dealt with Anelka's World Cup expulsion and the squad's subsequent strike action in Knysna, with captain Patrice Evra receiving a five-match suspension and Franck Ribery and Jeremy Toulalan banned for three and one games respectively.

Anelka was sent home from South Africa in disgrace following a dressing room dispute with coach Raymond Domenech and his team-mates refused to train before the country's final group game against South Africa in a show of solidarity for the Chelsea striker.

After being informed of his punishment, Anelka mocked the FFF and underlined he has no intention of representing his country following the events of the World Cup.

"For me, this whole commission thing is a nonsense, a charade not to lose face," Anelka told France-Soir.

"The so-called punishment has no relevance whatsoever because, for me, the French national team was an issue which ended on June 19 when I was kicked out of the training centre at Knysna.

"This is just to entertain the public, to turn the page because Laurent Blanc needs to be able to work in peace. These people are clowns. I am dying with laughter."

Anelka, Evra, Ribery, Toulalan and Eric Abidal were all called to the meeting on Tuesday, although Ribery and Anelka only sent representatives.

New France coach Laurent Blanc imposed his own punishment on the rebellious players by excluding all 23 players from the first squad he picked as les Bleus boss.

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