Blanc disappointed at bans

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PARIS, August 23- France coach Laurent Blanc on Sunday said he was surprised that France's footballing authorities had handed down different length bans to players behind the World Cup revolt which followed the sending home of rebel Nicolas Anelka.Blanc told French television that he did not understand why the bans varied in length as punishment for what he deemed a "collective act."

He explained: "I am a little in doubt as to the nature of the punishments – one player (Patrice Evra) gets a five-match (ban), another player (Franck Ribery) three, another one (Jeremy Toulalan) one match and another (Eric Abidal) zero."

And Blanc called on the officials the French Football Federation’s disciplinary commission who handed down the supensions to "explain to me if they had clear and precise criteria" behind their decision to award varying punishments.

"It is very surprising – this commission was led by a former (FFF) chairman, the day he stepped down (Jean-Pierre Escalettes), and it is for the new man at the top (Fernand Duchaussoy) and the new coach to suffer the consequences," added Blanc.

The players were punished for their roles in the infamous player revolt in South Africa, when the entire squad refused to train in protest at the FFF’s decision to send Anelka home for swearing at former coach Raymond Domenech.

Anelka was handed an 18-match ban by the disciplinary commission of the French Football Federation (FFF) last week – effectively ending his international career.

On the subject of Anelka, Blanc said: "I would like someone to explain to me why 18 matches, and why not 19 or 20 – it needs explaining."

After the bans were first announced Blanc had said: "It’s obviously not an ideal situation for French football, which will need all its top players when the qualifying games for Euro 2012 begin."

He added that he had hoped he would take the reins "with the South African page definitively turned after the completion, at my suggestion, of a collective sanction that struck me as both necessary and sufficient."

He himself dropped the entire World Cup squad as a collective – though largely symbolic – punishment for his first match in charge – a 2-1 friendly defeat in Norway on August 11.

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