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Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010

Tirade lands Anelka 18-game ban

PARIS (AP) Nicolas Anelka's profane tirade at the World Cup may have been his last act with the French national team.

He was suspended for 18 games Tuesday, one of four players banned by the French soccer federation for a World Cup mutiny that was criticized by President Nicolas Sarkozy and underlined an embarrassing first-round exit.

The federation also handed suspensions — subject to appeal — to former captain Patrice Evra (five games), Franck Ribery (three games) and Jeremy Toulalan (one game). Eric Abidal, the fifth player at the four-hour hearing, escaped punishment.

Anelka's suspension is expected to last nearly two years. By the time the 2012 European Championship comes around, he will be 33 and possibly too old to make the team — if the French qualify.

"They (the players) are a bit bruised by the way things unfolded," said Jean Mazzella, president of the disciplinary commission. "They didn't think it would take on the proportions that it has, that's for sure."

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