The French federation has not given up hope of bringing Nicolas Anelka to book for his refusal to answer his country’s call against Yugoslavia last week.

The Manchester City striker turned down a late selection from national coach Jacques Santini because he felt slighted at being summoned as “a last resort.”

French federation regulations permit it to impose a two-game ban on players who turn down the national team. However, FIFA rejected the French bid to extend the ban internationally – and, specifically, to the English Premiership – on the grounds that City had not been given the requisite two-week notice of Anelka’s selection.

Gerard Enault, spokesman for the federation, said: “For us this remains a live issue which we will pursue. Anelka should, in any case, have been suspended from last weekend’s Premiership match at least. Our executive meets on December 5 and, if the punishment has still not been applied, we will appeal again to FIFA. This is not just about Anelka: this is a matter of principle.”
By Keir Radnedge