News Agencies – May 3, 2011

An investigation has begun into claims France football coach Laurent Blanc and other coaches discussed informal quotas limiting black and Arab youth players’ involvement in the national set-up.
Technical director Francois Blaquart, one of those to be questioned, is suspended pending the probe’s outcome. Blaquart and Blanc have said their comments were taken out of context. News sources claimed that Blaquart proposed secretly limiting the proportion of black and North African players to 30% at certain regional youth training centres, including the renowned Clairefontaine facility.
Blanc is alleged to have agreed with the plan in order to promote players with “our culture, our history”. The story has provoked reaction amongst ex-France internationals. Former defender Lilian Thuram, a team-mate of Blanc’s in the 1998 World Cup winning team, has spoken of his shock at the idea of quotas, while Basile Boli said it was “impossible” to support Blanc.

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