Evra to appeal ban

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PARIS, August 24 – French skipper Patrice Evra is to appeal the five-match ban he was handed by a discipinary commission for co-leading a training strike during an abortive World Cup, his lawyer said Monday.
"To this day, Mr Patrice Evra has not received notification of the decision by the Federal Disciplinary Commission (of the French Football Federation) on August 17 banning him from the French team for five matches," Jean-Yves Foucard said.

He added that the reasoning behind the ban had not been explained to the Manchester United player and decried varying individual punishment for a collective misdeed.

"Mr Patrice Evra has decided to appeal in that nothing untoward can be ascribed to him on an individual basis given that the responsability for the said events on the (team) bus at Knysna is to all evidence collective," said Foucard.

Foucard went on to state that the appeal would "allow Mr Laurent Blanc, the national coach, to select Mr Patrice Evra if he so wishes as the appeal is suspensive" under federation rules.

The federation’s commission banned Evra and three other ringleaders of the training ground strike after finding that he had not proprerly carried out his duties as skipper.

Evra was one of four players sanctioned for the training strike which followed the sending home of Nicolas Anelka after his dressing room tirade against former coach Raymond Domenech at half time during the defeat to Mexico.

Anelka was banned for 18 matches – effectively ending his France career – Franck Ribery was handed a three-game ban, while Jeremy Toulalan will serve a one-game suspension.

Another player, Eric Abidal, escaped a ban altogether.

Blanc himself said Sunday he was surprised at the varying length of the bans for what he deemed a "collective act" and he called on the Commission to "explain to me if they had clear and precise criteria" behind their ruling.

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."

Earlier Monday, France’s former World Cup-winning coach Aime Jacquet called for the lifting of the bans, co-signing a letter sent by the players’ union UNFP to the Federation (FFF to that effect.

The latter blasted the sanctions as "unjust and disproportionate" and estimated that the punishment "pours oil on the fire without reason."

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