French federation denies Blanc resignation

AFP, Saturday 7 May 2011

French football chiefs on Saturday denied a report that national coach Laurent Blanc had tendered his resignation amid a controversial race row

Laurent Blanc

Blanc and suspended national technical director (DTN) Francois Blaquart are under investigation after the Mediapart website released a transcript of a meeting last November in which French officials allegedly discussed introducing quotas on the number of dual-nationality players at youth training centres.

Blanc, who took over as coach from Raymond Domenech after Les Bleus disastrous World Cup campaign in South Africa last year, is set to be interviewed by French football federation (FFF) officials on his return from holiday in Italy on Monday.

On Saturday the FFF denied a report in Ouest France newspaper claiming that Blanc had resigned from his post.

"I've spoken to him on the telephone," the FFF's chief press officer Philippe Tournon told AFP.

"We spoke about him coming to Paris for the hearing and about what could happen afterwards. But at no time did we speak about that (resignation)," he added.

A spokesman for the FFF added: "The French football federation formally denies any report which claims Laurent Blanc has tendered his resignation."

The Mediapart report has caused huge controversy in France this week, causing a split among the multi-racial France team which won the World Cup in 1998.

Late Friday Blaquart said it was possible that Blanc may not have heard him use the word 'quotas' and was therefore potentially unaware that the issue had been discussed at the meeting last November.

"I could understand, as it (the word quota) was only used once -- in an extremely clumsy manner, I admit -- if Laurent didn't hear it," said Blaquart.

"It was a very, very passionate discussion that only lasted 20 minutes during a meeting of three hours."

He added: "I'm not proud and I even feel great shame to see these terms come out and get attached to my name, to Laurent's name and to the names of the others involved, of course."

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