French launch separate probes into controversial quotas plan

TWO separate investigations opened yesterday into reports of a controversial alleged plan to introduce quotas for dual-nationality players in the France national football team.

France’s sports ministry and the French football federation (FFF) will be carrying out separate enquires with their findings expected in the next week, said Patrick Braouezec, president of the Football Foundation, who has been appointed by the FFF to oversee their investigation.

Braouezec, a member of Parliament, also played a key role in the enquiry which followed the French national team strike during last year’s World Cup in South Africa.

The influential Mediapart website claimed last week that top management at the FFF, including France manager Laurent Blanc, secretly discussed and approved “unofficial discriminatory quotas” at a meeting last November to limit the number of black and Arab players coming through their national training programmes to 30%.

National Technical Director (DTN) Francois Blaquart, responsible for youth coaching policy in France, was suspended on Saturday.

Blanc will be among the officials questioned as part of the enquiry.

A number of players have come through French academies in recent years, and represented France at youth level, only to switch allegiances 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). The scandal could not come at a worse time for the French federation during a month which should have been focused on the selection of the nine host cities for Euro 2016.


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