France

Enquiry launched over plan to limit dual-nationality players in French Football team

Reuters

The French ministry of Sport has announced that it is to set up an enquiry into allegations that there was a secret plan to introduce quotas to limit the number of dual-nationality players in the French football team.The French Football Federation will also hold a separate enquiry into the matter.

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On Saturday, the French website Mediapart published a transcript of a meeting in November in which several high-ranking officials, discussed introducing quotas for players with dual-nationalities.

In the transcript, French National coach Laurent Blanc says he is "very much in favour" of a quota on dual-nationality players.

When shown the transcript, Blanc did not deny its authenticity, but said that the debate was not about reducing the number of blacks and Arabs in French football.

He declared that it was about "planning the future of French football and addressing the important and delicate problem of players with dual nationalities, as well as methods of scouting/selection for a new playing project."

The transcript contained other quotes from Blanc, in which he said that France was producing too many players who were "big, strong, powerful," and he suggested these were physical attributes of black players.

Blanc has now apologised for his role in the discussion. He said he was "sorry if he had hurt anyone's feelings," but was against all forms of discrimination and would not accept any accusations of racism or Xenophobia.

On Saturday, French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno suspended François Blaquart, who is French football's National Technical Director, for his role in the emerging scandal.

The ethnic make up of the French football team is a sensitive issue in France.

A number of players have been nurtured in French acadamies, and represented France at youth level, only to then switch allegiance to the senior sides of different countries.

They include Marouane Chamakh (Morocco), Sebastien Bassong (Cameroon), Moussa Sow (Senegal), Younes Belhanda (Morocco) and Ryad Boudebouz (Algeria).

 

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