France coach Laurent Blanc believes Rio Ferdinand was left out of the England Euro 2012 squad for reasons other than soccer, he said on Thursday.
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 "surprising".
England boss Roy Hodgson omitted the experienced central defender from his original 23 stating the reason was a "footballing decision" and again snubbed him when Gary Cahill was ruled out, calling up Liverpool reserve right back Martin Kelly instead.
Rio Ferdinand fears his international career has come to an end.
Football Association chairman David Bernstein has appealed to the media to focus only on those who have made the squad.
With the former West Brom coach at the start of a four-year contract, Ferdinand accepts his he unlikely to achieve his ambition of making a century of England appearances.
"I really hoped that I would get 100 caps but for various reasons it hasn't happened."
"Of course I was upset not to be in the squad. That's a perfectly natural reaction.
"I love being involved in football at the very top. I won't discuss what Mr Hodgson has said to me but he knows I wanted to be in the squad.