France coach Laurent Blanc
believes Rio Ferdinand was left out of the England Euro 2012
squad for reasons other than football, he said on Thursday.
England boss Roy Hodgson omitted the experienced central
defender from his original 23 citing a "footballing decision"
and again snubbed him when Gary Cahill was ruled out, calling up
Liverpool reserve right-back Martin Kelly instead.
Critics have said Ferdinand has been dropped because of
tensions with fellow central defender John Terry, who has been
picked but faces a court case next month after being charged
with racially abusing Ferdinand's brother Anton.
The Chelsea captain has pleaded not guilty over the alleged
incident in a match against Queens Park Rangers.
"From afar, I do not think it was a decision based on
sport," Blanc told a news conference ahead of his side meeting
England in their Group D opener on Monday.
Blanc, who played with injury-prone Ferdinand for Manchester
United in 2002/03, said the decision to omit him was
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