When UEFA chose not to extend Mamadou Sakho's thirty day provisional suspension and declared the defender free to play, many thought there was still a chance Sakho would get to represent France on the continental stage as his country hosts the European Championships in June.
National team managers have until Tuesday to submit their final squads, but with Sakho having been out for weeks it seemed a slim chance that he'd be selected by manager Didier Deschamps. Deschamps confirmed as much over the weekend, and did not mince words in doing so.
"Seriously?" Deschamps responded when asked if Sakho might be a last minute addition to his twenty-three man squad. "No. Or I have no respect for the players I selected. When I decided [on the squad] there was no evidence that the end [for Sakho] would be positive, even if it needed confirmation."
It's perfectly reasonable to not select a player who has missed out on most pre-tournament preparations and would essentially parachute into the squad at the expense of another player who had worked diligently to be there. On the other hand, Dechamps recently lost both Raphael Varane and Jérémy Mathieu to injury, and it seems silly not to call up a known quantity who did well for France two years ago at the World Cup. If there's a French term for cutting off your nose to spite your face, it might be apt here.
Deschamps' squad selections haven't been without controversy, with the manager having generated some heat for leaving Hatem Ben Arfa and noted blackmailer Karim Benzema off his provisional squad. Drama never seems to be far from the French national team no matter who fills out the team sheet, and it will be disappointing for Sakho that he'll be a footnote on that controversy rather than being a headline at the tournament.