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France football coach grilled over racial quota scandal

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-10

France coach Laurent Blanc returned to his home in the Bordeaux region on Monday after being questioned by the French Football Federation and Sports Ministry as part of an investigation into allegations he advocated racial quotas in youth academies.

REUTERS - France coach Laurent Blanc was interviewed on Monday by the French football federation (FFF) and the Sports Ministry as part of an investigation into a racism row that has plunged the game into turmoil.

Blanc left Paris by plane to rejoin his family in the Bordeaux region, telling reporters at the Bordeaux-Merignac airport that “it happened”, adding he would not make further comments before the findings of the investigation are known.

 
The findings will be presented to the press on Tuesday at 1230 GMT during a news conference at the FFF headquarters and the FFF’s extraordinary council will convene on Thursday with another news conference scheduled to follow at 1600 GMT.
 
Sports minister Chantal Jouanno is set to be presented with the initial findings of the ministry investigation on Monday and she will hold a news conference on Tuesday at 0930 GMT.
 
Blanc has been under fire since news broke last month that he attended a soccer federation meeting in November where reports say the idea of limits for youth players of Arab and African origin were discussed.
 
Race and immigration are hot topics in France and many of Blanc’s former international team mates in the multicultural 1998 World Cup-winning side have offered divided opinions on the quota issue.
 
FFF technical director Francois Blaquart, who also took part in the discussions, was provisionally suspended pending the results of the twin inquiry.
 
France endured a woeful World Cup last year and their players even went on strike but they are top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group under their new coach.
 
Blanc has denied accusations of racism and said any comments he made at the November meeting into dual nationality players were taken out of context but could “offend some sensibilities”.
 
A poll showed on Monday that only seven percent of French people were in favour of Blanc resigning.

 

Date created : 2011-05-09

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