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Thiriez reminds public that pair should be presumed innocent

Frederic Thiriez, president of the French football league (Ligue de Football Professionel), has spoken out against the tide of public opinion in the country, insisting that Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema should still be considered for the France national team despite the investigation hanging over the pair’s heads.

While future president of the FFF (French FA) Fernand Duchaussoy, Roselyne Bachelot, Minister for Sport, and Rama Yade, Secretary of State for Sports, have all indicated their belief that the star duo should not be considered for international duty due to their recent interdiction, Thiriez believes it would be wrong for les Bleus coach Laurent Blanc to overlook the players.

“Let us beware of condemning men in advance,” Thiriez told L’Equipe. “Respect the basic rules of our social contract. The presumption of innocence applies to everyone, even for French footballers after the World Cup. It is not for judges to pick the selection of les Bleus.”

Ribery may not have been selected for the forthcoming friendly against Norway in any case, as new coach Blanc is rumoured to be considering axing the whole 23-man World Cup squad. This would not, however, apply to Benzema, who failed to make the cut for South Africa.

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