French minister seeks racial quota response

PARIS - French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno asked the French Football Federation (FFF) on Thursday to comment on allegations that it planned to introduce racial quotas in youth academies.

The French website Mediapart, citing sources within the FFF, said earlier that French federation officials were in favour of ethnic quotas.

Mediapart added that the FFF's National Technical Direction had asked the academies not to recruit more than 30 percent of youngsters of black or Arab origin. The FFF denied the report.

"I acknowledge the FFF's denial and I ask them to quickly shed light on the article's allegations," Jouanno said in a statement.

"I know that Fernand Duchaussoy, the French federation's president, will be uncompromising and that he will take the necessary measures without delay."

France team media officer Philippe Tournon said national coach Laurent Blanc, who was mentioned in the Mediapart report, "categorically denies that he could have supported selections based on ethnicity or skin colour."

"It goes against his philosophy," Tournon said, adding that Blanc was "outraged" by the allegations.

France won the 1998 World Cup on home soil with a team including players born in France of North African immigrant parents.