Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blanc cleared of discrimination

French national team coach Laurent Blanc has been cleared by France's Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno of discrimination claims.

Jouanno said no anti-discrimination laws were broken when Blanc and soccer federation colleagues discussed whether quotas should be introduced to curb training academy access for young French players with dual nationality, many of them black and Arab.

“It emerges very clearly that ways to limit the numbers of so-called dual-national players ... including putting in place quotas were, in fact, debated," she said. "The subject was raised in a manner both clumsy and clearly uncalled-for, clearly uncalled-for. The general impression that emerges is really very unpleasant, with innuendoes that very often were borderline tending toward racist.”

The French federation's inquiry also cleared Blanc but reproached him for taking part in a discussion that should not have happened in the first place. While possible quotas were discussed, Jouanno determined the idea was dismissed and wasn’t implemented. Thus she said that there are no grounds to start legal proceedings. Jouanno said in Blanc’s defense that he also told the meeting: "If there are only blacks in the training centers and these blacks are French and want to play in the France team that is all fine by me."

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