Blanc backed by France Football Federation

France coach Laurent Blanc cleared of wrongdoing in the racial discrimination row dominating French football.

    The French Sports Ministry investigation found the debate 'clumsy and clearly uncalled-for' but also cleared Blanc of discrimination [GALLO/GETTY]

    France coach Laurent Blanc has received the backing of the French Football Federation's (FFF) federal council following their investigation into his role in alleged plans to introduce racial quotas for dual nationality players.

    Thursday's decision comes two days after Blanc was also cleared of any wrongdoing in a parallel investigation by French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno.

    Blanc and other FFF colleagues met in November last year to discuss if quotas should be introduced to curb training academy access for young French players with dual nationality, many of them black and Arab.

    "The federal council has renewed its entire faith in Laurent Blanc,'' FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy said on Thursday.

    "The federal council has taken note that no discrimination (plans) were ever put in place (at the meeting).''

    Disciplinary proceedings

    The investigative website Mediapart published the claims last month that plans were secretly made to limit to 30 per cent the number of players of African and North-African descent in training academies once they reached the age of 13.

    The dual nationality debate was meant to discuss ways to limit the number of players who go through France's junior ranks before later deciding to play for another country at senior level.

    While backing Blanc, the Federal Council opened "disciplinary proceedings" in the case but without naming names in order to respect the rights of their employees.

    However sources revealed that the disciplinary proceedings concerned  suspended National Technical Director (DNT) Francois Blaquart and the FFF's deputy director general Andre Prevosto.

    In the November 8 meeting, Blaquart, Blanc, Under-20 coach Francis Smerecki and Under-21 coach Eric Mombaerts discussed the case of players with dual nationality within the youth academies.

    Blaquart used the word 'quotas' in the meeting but Blanc has said he also made comments which could "offend some sensibilities".

    The meeting saw Mombaerts favouring the idea of quotas with Smerecki strongly opposed to the idea.

    Sports minister Chantal Jouanno urged Duchaussoy on Thursday to set up an independent watchdog to monitor racism and discrimination.

    The watchdog would "investigate, study and analyse all forms of discrimination within French football".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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