France coach Laurent Blanc was today cleared to continue in his job following an investigation into the racial quotas row.
It had been claimed that Blanc and other coaches were seeking to introduce limits on the presence of ethnic minority players entering the national set-up.
French website Mediapart alleged that plans were made at a meeting on November 8, 2010 to restrict the numbers of black players and those of north African origin entering national training centres and academies at the age of 12.
Blanc was present at the meeting in question, as reportedly were French Football Federation technical director Francois Blaquart, France Under-21 coach Erick Mombaerts and France Under-20 coach Francis Smerecki.
Today it was stated by French Football Foundation president Patrick Braouezec, who led the quotas investigation, that Blanc was “angry with himself for being overwhelmed” during the meeting, while the former national team defender received backing from France’s sports minister Chantal Jouanno.
It was also stressed that only a small minority of those at the meeting backed the quotas proposal.
Jouanno said: “Laurent Blanc was present for the first time at this type of meeting. He wasn’t organiser or pilot. He discovered the debate about quotas.
“He offered no opinions, unlike other participants at the meeting who were prepared for this debate.”
She added: “He tries to put his values at the heart of the game.”
According to Jouanno, no evidence had emerged to suggest France’s 2001 discrimination laws were breached.
“There is no need to go to court,” she said.
Technical director Blaquart was suspended from his post at the end of April, and Jouanno stressed it was for the FFF to decide whether he should be reinstated. His fate looks set to be determined on Thursday, when the FFF federal council meets.
Braouezec today told a press conference: “No material evidence can demonstrate a policy of quotas. Our inquiry has taken place to verify the words of Mediapart. We haven’t been asked to propose sanctions.
“The published words conform with the recording. The idea of quotas was killed in the egg. Only two people, out of 16 or 17, came out in favour of quotas.”
Former Marseille, Inter Milan and Manchester United defender Blanc, 45, did not speak in public today but will give his side of the story in a TF1 television interview on Friday evening, the FFF announced.