France introduce race quotas
Paris - French football chiefs have approved proposals to limit the number of black and Arab players coming through their national training programmes to 30 percent, according to a report.
The influential Mediapart website claimed on Thursday top management at the French Football Federation (FFF), including France manager Laurent Blanc, secretly discussed and approved "unofficial discriminatory quotas".
"For the top brass in French football, the issue is settled: there are too many blacks, too many Arabs and not enough white players in French football," the website claimed.
"Some top officials at the French football federation's National Development Programme (DTN), including national team coach Laurent Blanc, secretly approved at the start of 2011 the principle of unofficial discriminatory quotas in training centres and schools around the country."
Mediapart added that following a meeting in January, where those involved were told to keep the proposals secret, directives to apply the measures were sent to the numerous training centres around the country.
"According to internal sources at the FFF, who have been shocked by the proposals, instructions were sent to the different managers of training schools, notably the National French Institute at Clairefontaine," added the report.
"The figure of 30 percent was even evoked by the technical director during a DTN meeting on January 18, 2011."
However the French team's chief press officier Philippe Tournon said Blanc categorically denied the allegations made in the report.
"Laurent Blanc rejects these accusations which run contrary to his whole philosophy," Tournon told AFP.
"Laurent Blanc is outraged that he has been accused in this way, since he rejects any kind of discrimination. He would never agree to such measures."
The report claims that in FFF meetings the problematic issue of players with double nationalities was also discussed.
Tournon added: "One of the problems evoked by Laurent Blanc is the double nationality issue, namely when players who benefit from a three-year stint in a French national training centre then go abroad and play for other teams.
"But to reduce that to an article headlined 'There are too many blacks and Arabs' is simply unbelievable. And it's not going to sit well with Laurent Blanc."
FFF chief Fernand Duchaussoy told AFP: "I've never heard of these proposals and to be honest it would astound me if I did.
"It wouldn't be right, and in any case I wouldn't allow it to happen."
Duchaussoy added: "It's a reality. We have a lot of young players who have double nationality, and some of them go on to choose another country than France when it comes to the national side.
"That is their choice, and we have to accept it. But these kinds of problems haven't been discussed at federal meetings."