Arriving in training shoes for a preparation session was a bad sign in the French camp on Sunday, and it quickly became clear there was a player’s strike in the air.
A row broke out between Captain Patrice Evra and the fitness coach Robert Duverne. Manager Raymond Domenech had to separate the two men after tempers flared, and Duverne left the field in a fury.
Domenech then read out a statement from the players saying they stood by Nicolas Anelka who they said had been punished purely on the basis of press reports, and that the team had not been supported by the French Football Federation. As a result they refused to train.
After signing autographs for fans the players returned to their bus and left. Some have said they will return home.
The managing director of the federation, Jean Louis Valentin, is already on his way. He resigned on the spot, and stormed off, disgusted at his player’s behaviour and pursued by the press. He said he was quitting the team, and the French Football Federation, and would return home immediately.