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FFF opens inquiry into race quotas

The French Football Federation (FFF) has opened its inquiry into claims that senior members of the French staff were seeking to introduce quotas limiting the presence of ethnic minority players in the national set-up.

French website Mediapart alleged last week that plans were made at a meeting last November - with boss Laurent Blanc present along with FFF technical director Francois Blaquart, Under-21 coach Erick Mombaerts and Under-20 coach Francis Smerecki - to restrict the numbers of black players and those of north African origin entering national training centres and academies at the age of 12.

Blaquart was suspended from his post on Saturday, pending the outcome of investigations by the FFF.

An FFF statement on Tuesday read: ''The French Football Federation, in accordance with the commitment they made in response to disclosures by a website, have today set up a Commission of Inquiry to hear charged mainly with the task of hearing those who have been named in order to determine whether the elements revealed last Saturday are true.

''This commission will be composed of Patrick Braouezec, director of the Football Foundation, and Laurent Davenas, president of the National Council of Ethics.

''Alain Resplandy-Bernard, managing director of the FFF, will be responsible for ensuring correct conditions for the setting up of this commission which will work in co-ordination with the mission of general inspection of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

''They will hear in turn, those involved in the DTN [Direction Technique Nationale] meeting which was held at the FFF, on November 8, 2010. It will issue its findings within one week, at the latest.

''These will be developed and studied by a extraordinary Federal Council [meeting] which will be held next week. So that this investigation takes place under optimum conditions of calm, the FFF will not express anything more about this matter until the findings of the commission are made public.''

Blanc strongly denied the allegation on Friday, telling L'Equipe: ''This project does not exist. All that, for me, is false.

''It is impossible to put quotas in place in football. If that was put in place, advocating one race above another, I would fall off my chair.''

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