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France boss Laurent Blanc cleared of discrimination

France coach Laurent Blanc was today absolved of any blame following the controversy surrounding limiting the presence of ethnic minority players in the national set-up.

It was recently claimed that plans were made at a meeting last November to restrict the numbers of black players and those of north African origin entering national training centres and academies at the age of 12.

Blanc was said to have been present, along with French Football Federation technical director Francois Blaquart, Under-21 coach Erick Mombaerts and Under-20 coach Francis Smerecki.

French sports minister Chantal Jouanno today said: "Laurent Blanc was present for the first time at this type of meeting. He wasn't organiser or pilot. He discovered the debate about quotas.

"He offered no opinions, unlike other participants at the meeting who were prepared for this debate.

"There is nothing to suggest that Laurent Blanc condones discriminatory guidelines."

According to Jouanno, no evidence has emerged to suggest France's 2001 discrimination laws have been breached.

"There is no need to go to court," she said.

The French Football Federation were this afternoon poised to announce their own findings.

Blaquart was suspended from his post at the end of April, and Jouanno stressed it was for the FFF to decide whether he should be reinstated.