Yann M’Vila was set to make the jump to the big time last April, but a rumored move to the Premier League never materialized. Just seven months have passed, and the French midfielder has become a punch-line.
On Thursday, the French Football Association (FFF) banned M’Vila from representing his country until July 2014 — after the next FIFA World Cup — for breaking curfew and going out on the town before a big game, according to the Associated Press.
“Yann M’Vila is suspended from selection for any national team between November 12, 2012 and June 30, 2014” the FFF statement said.
M’Vila committed the offense last month during the playoffs for the 2013 U-21 UEFA European Championship. After leading France to a 1-0 win over Norway in the first leg, the 22-year-old (and four teammates) left training camp and went to a nightclub in Paris. They were spotted out, and word got back to the authorities at the FFF.
Had France qualified for next summer’s finals it may have blown over, but Les Blues threw away their first-leg advantage and lost 5-3 in Norway. M’Vila, who has 22 appearances for France’s senior team, was considered the ring-leader and bore the brunt of the criticism after France’s elimination.
French soccer has already come down hard on M’Vila. On Oct. 19, his club, Rennes, dropped him from the first team and made him practice with the youth team instead. Manager Frederic Antonetti threatened to keep him there for the rest of the 2012-13 season.
The international ban completes M’Vila’s stunning fall from grace.
“I don’t know if the word ‘disappointed’ is enough, and not just for him, but for all five,’ France head coach Didier Deschamps said. “What they did is incompatible with the France shirt.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is a longtime admirer of M’Vila. He was reportedly ready to break the bank to sign the French international last April, but those rumors died down after M’Vila was arrested in May for slapping a 17-year-old acquaintance during an argument outside of his house.
M’Vila was part of France’s team at Euro 2012, but things didn’t go so well for him in Eastern Europe. An injury he suffered before the tournament limited his involvement. He only started one game — France’s quarterfinal loss to Spain — and was substituted after 78 minutes. He stormed off the field and refused to shake hands with head coach Laurent Blanc and substitute Olivier Giroud. The FFF gave him a one-game ban for the slight.
This latest punishment leaves M’Vila’s future as cloudy as ever. His form and reputation are in tatters, big clubs have taken their interest elsewhere and his career is in danger of stalling. Once billed as the “new Patrick Viera,” M’Villa has become a cause celebre for armchair agitators and T-shirt makers everywhere: “Free Yann M’Vila” is their battle cry.
Photo via Facebook/Yann Mvila