PARIS (AP) _ France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez had his ban for spitting on a referee extended Friday until the end of December _ possibly spelling the end of his international career.

The Marseille goalie will miss France's four remaining World Cup qualifiers and two exhibition games.

Coach Raymond Domenech will likely replace him with Gregory Coupet, and it might be difficult for the 33-year-old Barthez to make the team for next year's World Cup when the ban expires Dec. 31.

French soccer federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes said ``a player of Barthez's standing must be exemplary'' when explaining the decision to extend the suspension.

``Whatever happens, I will continue,'' Barthez told a French radio station. ``I will be at the World Cup. I am strongest when I am on the field.''

Escalettes said Barthez could play again Oct. 15 if he completes 10 tasks designed by the FFF to help ``improve the image and profile of soccer.'' Even if Barthez completes the 10 tasks, it would be too late for him to take part in any of the qualifiers.

On Feb. 12, Barthez ran off the bench to confront referee Abdellah el-Achiri in the 80th minute of a game between Marseille and Wydad Casablanca in Casablanca, Morocco.

The French soccer federation's disciplinary council banned Barthez for three months but the FFF's federal council deemed the punishment too light and a new hearing took place Thursday.

Barthez was a key member of the French team that won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship.


Associated Press Writer Jean-Luc Courthial in Paris contributed to this report.