CLAIMS that French football bosses want to cut the number of blacks and Arabs in Les Bleus have prompted sports minister Chantal Jouanno to demand an explanation.
News website Mediapart said it had information Fédération Française de Football officials had discussed limiting the number of black and Arab players being recruited to elite training schools to 30%.
There were claims of a lack of “national identity” in the French squad after the shame of the “strike” and then exit from last year’s world cup. National officials were said to be reacting to a widespread problem of young players with dual-nationality.
Mediapart reported FFF officials had secretly approved unofficial quotas as, the website claimed, “there were too many blacks, too many Arabs and not enough white players in French football”.
Ms Jouanno asked FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy to investigate the claims. Mr Duchaussoy told 365.fr he was surprised by the allegations but directed questions to national technical director François Blaquart, adding that Mr Blaquart had made no such suggestions at last week’s committee meeting.
Mediapart had accused Mr Blaquart of instructing training school managers, including the national institute at Clairefontaine outside Paris, to apply a 30% quota when they were bringing in the 12 or 13 year-old hopefuls.
National coach Laurent Blanc was said to have agreed, however, football website football365.fr reported squad PR Philippe Tournon as saying Blanc was outraged: “I have just been on the phone to him and he asked me to deny this categorically; he is philosophically opposed to any form of discrimination.”
However, he admitted Blanc had discussed the problem of dual-nationality players learning their trade in the training centres and then opting to play for other countries.