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By ESPN Staff

Roux blames FIFA for row

Veteran coach Guy Roux believes FIFA rules are to blame for the race row which led to the suspension of French Football Federation (FFF) technical director Francois Blaquart.

• France row escalates

Blaquart was sanctioned following allegations the FFF is seeking to introduce quotas limiting the presence of ethnic minority players in the national team.

French website Mediapart alleged plans were made at an FFF meeting last November to limit the numbers of black players and those of north African origin entering national training centres and academies at the age of 12.

France coach Laurent Blanc, coach of the France Under-21 team Erick Mombaerts and Blaquart were all said to have attended the meeting. Blanc strongly denied the claims, but Blaquart was removed from his post with an investigation under way into the reports.

Roux, who managed Auxerre for 44 years, believes the problem stems largely from FIFA's eligibility rules.

He told L'Equipe: "France, with its history and colonial past, has thousands of people who are our cousins. Their children are born here and play football. By the law, they are French. FIFA allows you to play for the nation of your grandfather and even more without limit. This is a problem.''

Roux also felt the FFF were too quick to suspend Blaquart, adding: "This suspension is premature. The FFF has legitimately announced an inquiry. Afterwards, when we know the results, we can take the necessary decisions. They should have waited.''

Former full-back Lilian Thuram, the winner of a record 142 caps for Les Bleus, said he found the allegations "amazing''.

"I am afraid that if it is true we are at the heart of something very serious,'' he said. "I thought it was a joke. When are we going to end these prejudices about skin colour? When will w stop saying that if you're black you run faster, or if you're black you're less intelligent.''

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