FIFA Warns French Govt Against Interference

Already reeling from an early exit at the ongoing World Cup, the French national teamĀ could be headed for another setback. FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the football governing body might suspend France from international competitions if it is proven that the French government is trying to influence the team.

In a press conference in South Africa, Blatter said the federation is sending a “clear message” to the French government. “If it cannot be solved by consultation then the only thing we have is to suspend the federation,” he said.

Blatter’s comments were in connection to the statement by French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, who also holds heads the sports portfolio, that the resignation of French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes was “unavoidable.”

President Nicolas Sarkozy also called for a review of how the country’s sports bodies are being managed, a move that could undermine the autonomy of sports federations.

Escalettes decided to step down after the embarrassing first-round exit of the 1998 champions and 2006 finalists.

France missed the Round of 16 after failing to win a single match in the group stage, where they lost to Mexico and hosts South Africa, and drew with Uruguay.

Les Bleus have not won an international competition match since they defeated Portugal, 1-0, in the previous World Cup.