Could the French FA slap a ban on Samir Nasri?
Samir Nasri is at the centre of the latest storm in the French national team after he told a journalist to “f*** off” and then invited him outside to continue this argument.
Whilst nothing is official, it has been widely spread that the French FA are considering giving the Manchester City midfielder a two-year ban from the international scene.
Such a ban would see Nasri out of the reckoning for the next World Cup in Brazil.
It would also be unprecedented, since long-term bans only ever having been doled out on the domestic scene, see Eric Cantona, Rio Ferdinand and Luis Suarez.
FIFA Vice-President and ex-France international Michel Platini branded the speculated ban “ludicrous”, saying: “If I got suspended every time I insulted a journalist I wouldn’t have had many caps.”
It is interesting to see Platini – such a senior official in the game – throwing his opinion around on this matter, but is it easy to agree with him.
Only days before this incident, Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin was also involved in a blazing row with a journalist, leading to Blokhin asking the writer outside for a “man talk”.
Yet no one is claiming that Blokhin should be banned from management for two years, which seems highly unfair to Nasri.
If banned, it will also prove unfair to France who will lose one of their most talented players in an important stage of their footballing re-development.
Whilst the length of the ban will have been unheard of, a ban itself, in the French national team alone, will not.
In their debacle of a showing at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, France’s Nicolas Anelka was expelled from the tournament after refusing to apologise to coach Raymond Domenech following a furious changing room bust-up.
His expulsion saw the French squad boycott training in rows never before witnessed on a global football scene. He was eventually handed an 18-match ban, but was said to have been planning to retire in any case after such poor treatment.
One must note that this is not Samir Nasri’s first misdeed.
Early on in his international career, he refused to give up his seat to then Arsenal team-mate, William Gallas on the national team coach.
Relations have not since thawed as Nasri recently refused to shake Gallas’ hands when their two teams met in the Premier League.
But it is unfair to suggest that this previous misdemeanour makes it fair to castigate Nasri.
It is very likely that, with the pressure back on France, the French FA are looking for a scapegoat following their failure to reach the semi-finals of the European Championships.
Nasri should not be banned for two years, that much is simple truth.
Two years is such a ridiculous length of time for such a petty incident that it insults some other bans.
If this turns into a two-year ban, how is Suarez’s eight-match ban for racism justifiable, or Rio Ferdinand’s nine-month suspension for missing multiple drugs tests reasonable?
Perhaps a two- or three-match ban may be fair, as this sort of behaviour towards journalists simply trying to do their job cannot be treated as appropriate or professional behaviour.
Should the French FA choose to follow through on their threat, they will only be shooting themselves in the foot by excluding one of their most gifted players in this relatively weak French generation.