Other Sports

France players may pay for Euro antics

French midfielder Samir Nasri, who turned 25 yesterday, faces a long ban from the national side, according to reports

His behavior at the Euro 2012, which included two outbursts at journalists and being deemed as a disruptive influence by several teammates, is the reason why the squad’s 100,000 euros (US$125,000) a player bonuses are now under the scanner.

Nasri has also put at risk sponsorship money paid to the French Football Federation based on independent polling about the behavior and popularity of “Les Bleus” during major competitions.

The FFF had already seen each sponsor reduce its contribution by two million euros after the 2010 World Cup, which saw players go on strike and then exit at the first stage, and a threat of a 20 percent reduction if the team’s popularity dipped more.

The results of the latest poll are unlikely to make happy reading for either the French football authorities or the players.

Sources estimate that with FFF president Noel Le Graet up for re-election in December, he will want to make an example of Nasri and the Manchester City star could face a ban of up to two years, ruling him out of the next World Cup finals.

Aside from Nasri, other players are also seen as having sullied the team’s image. They are Hatem Ben Arfa, Jeremy Menez and Yann M’Vila.

“These three players (Ben Arfa, Menez and M’Vila) risk up to a four-game suspension but it is difficult to anticipate how many they will receive as there is no strict guideline,” the sports daily said.

But Nasri is at greater risk of a heavy punishment because Le Graet is seen to have failed to rein him in after he celebrated his goal against England by yelling “shut your face” at a L’Equipe journalist, the newspaper said. “You can do what you want when you play for Manchester City but not when you wear the France team shirt,” Le Graet reportedly told him.