Blaquart hits back in quotas row
The man at the centre of the ethnic quotas row surrounding the French Football Federation says he is "profoundly anti-racist" and the victim of "an enormous injustice" as he awaits to hear whether he will keep his job.
FFF technical director Francois Blaquart today admitted he had been "bruised" by allegations made by French website Mediapart that he and other senior FFF figures had been prepared to introduce quotas 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 insists Mediapart's report did not reflect the true context of the meeting, and though he said he would accept his fate following the FFF's own investigation into the matter, he would continue the fight to clear his name. The federation are set to clarify Blaquart's position tomorrow.
Blaquart told slate.fr: "The two weeks that have passed have been very hard for me and my family. I am more than bruised by this, and I will be for a long time.
"Whatever the decision, I will not stop there because I want to go after the truth about what happened. I am the victim of a manipulation...an enormous injustice.
"The facts prove that I have not sinned. I will counter-attack, I am compelled to."
Blaquart added: "I am not proud of the words I said but I am sickened by the way they have been reported. We did not realise the foolishness of them at the time.
"I am profoundly anti-racist. My career proves that."
Another FFF official, Mohammed Belkacemi, has admitted he recorded the meeting on November 8 and leaked it to the media, and Blaquart said: "I'm not going to throw names out there but I think there are people who disagreed with the project I wanted to put in place, and they have sought to discredit me."
Blaquart, who admits to using the word "quota" at the meeting, believes there are problems in the French academy system that need to be addressed and said: "To deny it is nonsense."
National team boss Laurent Blanc, who was also present at the meeting, has been cleared of any wrongdoing.