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Chelsea striker Anelka at centre of amazing France row

Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has sparked an amazing rift between the France players and their Federation.

Less than 24 hours after the Chelsea forward was excluded by the FFF after rejecting an opportunity to apologise for his verbal attack on coach Raymond Domenech, the rest of the squad took matters into their own hands.

Just a few minutes after taking the field for a training session at their Knysna base in South Africa captain Patrice Evra, of Manchester United, and fitness coach Robert Duverne became involved in an argument.

Domenech stepped in and Duverne stormed away as the players walked off and boarded the team bus.

The coach returned moments later to read a statement from the squad to the assembled media in which the players laid bare their criticism of the FFF top brass.

The statement prepared by the players, and delivered to the assembled media by Domenech, read: "All players without exception want to declare their opposition to FFF decision to exclude Nicolas Anelka.

The statement added the players were angered the Anelka-Domenech row had become public and criticised the FFF, "which at no time tried to protect the squad".

However, the players vowed "to do everything individually and collectively so that France regains its honour [against South Africa] on Tuesday".

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