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Friday, May 6, 2011

Racism and the French Football Federation

Laurent Blanc
In one of the most shocking stories I have happened upon since starting this blog, a tape was uncovered this week outlining plans held to introduce an ethnic quota in the French national football team. This has spurred the Football Federation into action organising an inquiry into the origins of such a tape.

The tape implicates people as high ranking as the French national coach Laurent Blanc and Fran├žois Blaquart, National Technical Director in charge of  youth coaching strategies. The investigative website Mediapart initially broke the story and transcribed the story for the media.

The two are initially heard discussing the probem of dual nationality players who are trained in France but then leave to play for other nations. An under-21 coach then puts forward the idea of limiting the number of dual national players to 30%. Blaquart then agrees to the idea of a quota as long as it remains unspoken.

However, perhaps the most shocking of comments come from Blanc who states "You have the impression that they really train the same prototype of players, big, strong, powerful... What is there that is currently big, strong, powerful? The blacks. And that's how it is. ...God knows that in the training centers... well, there are many."

Fran├žois Blaquart
Blanc denies there were ever talks of quotas however, he has stated that certain ideas when taken out of context could be seen in a bad light. He also apologised for having hurt any feelings.

However, this is a problem that is unlikely to simply disappear. The FFF has now launched an inquiry into the remarks and its President has stated he had no knowledge such discussions were taking place.
The French Sports Minister told RTL radio that these comments were serious and that she expects a result of this inquiry by Monday.

A number of key figures have called for resignations and  indeed Mr Balquart has already been suspended on Saturday. Depending on the findings of this investigation there could be considerable repercussions for the landscape of French football , in this debate which has not only re-opened a debate on racism in football but also ignited tensions in the whole of French society. 

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