French midfielder Samir Nasri turned 25 on Tuesday but according to the sports daily L’Equipe, he had better make the most of any celebrations, as he faces potentially a long ban from the national side.
His behaviour at Euro 2012, which included two outbursts at journalists and being deemed by several team-mates as a disruptive influence, is the reason why the squad’s ¤100,000 ($125,000, £80,000) a player bonuses are now under the scanner.
Nasri has also put at risk sponsorship money paid to the French Football Federation based on independent polling about the behaviour and popularity of “Les Bleus” during major competitions.
The FFF had already seen each sponsor reduce its contribution by ¤2m after the 2010 World Cup, which saw players go on strike and then exit at the first stage, and a threat of a 20 per cent reduction if the team’s popularity dipped more.
The results of the latest poll are unlikely to make happy reading for either the French football authorities or the players.
L’Equipe estimates that with FFF president Noel Le Graet up for re-election in December, he will want to make an example of Nasri and the Manchester City star could face a ban of up to two years, ruling him out of the next World Cup finals.
Aside from Nasri, other players are also seen as having sullied the team’s image.
Most players snubbed the handful of fans who turned out in the rain at Le Bourget airport to welcome the team home. The majority hardly managed a wave and instead got into their pre-booked taxis and left.
Subsequent revelations about the size of the bonuses further turned public opinion against them in France, with the fires stoked by several politicians.
More striking was the comparison with the Italians, who aside from reaching the semi-finals, will donate their bonuses to the victims of the two earthquakes in the north of the country last month that killed 25 people.
Other players who look like being brought to account over their behaviour at the tournament – Hatem Ben Arfa, Jeremy Menez and Yann M’Vila – face less heavy sanctions than Nasri for a variety of offences, according to reports.
L’Equipe said that all four were likely to be charged next Tuesday, when former Marseille president Jean-Michel Roussier is confirmed as the FFF’s new director-general.
“These three players (Ben Arfa, Menez and M’Vila) risk up to a four-game suspension but it is difficult to anticipate how many they will receive as there is no strict guideline,” the sports daily said.
“The Nasri case without a shadow of a doubt is a different entity entirely.”