(France’s victorious 1998 World Cup starting XI)
The Guardian’s Angelique Chrisafis reports that following last summer’s near-mutiny against Equipe de France coach Raymond Domenech, there are allegations FFF officials conspired to racially imbalance the makeup of future squads.
The French football federation has opened an internal investigation after website Mediapart reported that top management approved a quota system to limit young black players and those of north African origin emerging as candidates for the national team. The alleged plan involved limiting non-white youngsters as young as 12 or 13 from entering the selection process through training centres and academies.
“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 said.
According to Mediapart, one of the most senior football federation figures wanted to set a cap of 30% on players of certain origins, but insisted at a meeting the quota should be kept quiet. At another meeting, the French national team coach Laurent Blanc allegedly backed changing youth talent selection criteria to favour players with “our culture, our history”. Sources claimed Blanc cited current world champions Spain, saying: “The Spanish, they say: ‘We don’t have a problem. We have no blacks.'”
How soon they forget ; France’s 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 triumphs were accomplished with rosters that were a relative model of modern multiculturalism.