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France news

FIFA warns French government

June 26, 2010
By Soccernet staff

FIFA has warned the French government to tread very carefully in its dealings with the French Football Federation (FFF) in the aftermath of the team's humiliating exit from the World Cup.

Jerome Valcke
GettyImagesJerome Valcke: Cautious over dealings with the FFF.

On Thursday, French captain Patrice Evra said the government was going to launch an investigation into the national side's dismal performance. His comments came less than 24 hours after Thierry Henry asked for a meeting with France's president Nicolas Sarkozy.

FIFA, whose rules specifically prohibit governments from involvement with the running of national federations, responded by contacting the sports ministry to request it to be cautious in its dealings with the FFF.

"We have spoken with the office of the sports minister and have said that there is a need to be very careful that there is autonomy of football," Jerome Valcke, the secretary general of FIFA, said. "They can meet, they can discuss, they can ask for apologies from the people involved, but they need to be careful because if there is interference FIFA will react just as with any country in the world.

"What I'm saying is we will definitely look at what France is doing, but it is to avoid having a difficult situation. There was not a warning, but advice was given from my side about our system and how the pyramid of football is working. To cut a long story short, no one can ask for someone to resign."

FIFA has the power to suspend any federation where there is evidence of government interference.

"There is a system in place to run football around the world and that system is under the umbrella of FIFA," Valcke said. "We are always monitoring things and warning people how this pyramid of football is working. I hope we are able to avoid a situation where we have to say there is an interference. We are not anxious, simply attentive to the problem."

As a Frenchman himself, Valcke admitted the situation concerned him. "The coaches are going to have a great deal to do to put together a good team. Laurent [Blanc, the new coach] has one year to succeed in trying to consolidate his team and provide some hope that not only [the players] want to wear the French jersey but also that they want to give some pleasure to the fans and repair what has happened in this World Cup."