Friday, April 29, 2011

Disturbing accusations about FFF quotas.

A disturbing story was written about in the blog MediaPart, click here to read the summary. What it accuses the FFF of is setting secret quotas based on a player's race, aka get more white players into the French developmental program. Wow. This smacks of Front National and JM Le Pen. If this is true than it is disgraceful and completely unacceptable.

Until proven otherwise, I am siding with Laurent Blanc and the FFF, that these accusations are completely baseless and unfounded. The French national team has been one that has embraced the diversity of its population. The last time I checked some of France's best players have been from a diverse back ground. Zizou, Desailly, Thuram, Tresor, Djorkaef, Vieira, Makelele, Tigana and the list goes on. Look at some of France's U19 Euro champs: Bakumba, Tafer, Griezmann and Kakuta all different ethnic backgrounds. Clearly the French Federation, as does any nation looking to win, will take the best youth available and look to groom them to represent the national team at the highest level.

Now an interesting twist could be, that the directors of the federation might have been discussing the dilemma of selecting youth players that have multiple eligibility. The majority of these situations involve a former French colony in Africa. Recently Blanc has specifically called out the fact Les Bleus have not been able to select players that the FFF has developed. Going back to the 2002 Euros where Kanoute was pre-selected for the French national team for the Euros (he has even had a game for the French B side as well as 16 games for the U21 squad) but instead he decided to commit to Mali. Kanoute was born in France. Today players such as Moussa Sow, Sebastien Bassong and Mourad Meghni have been developed at the youth levels for Les Bleus, only for them to choose another senior national side. Granted, Les Bleus have benefited from their colonial heritage and their diverse population for the French squad: Makelele from Zaire, Desailly from Ghana and Vieira from Senegal to name a few big name players who have worn the blue kit for France rather than from their birth nation. Yet, all these players spent the majority of their youth and lives in France so more reasonable than a player born in France who has been part of the French development system only to switch national team at the penultimate moment.

I hope that the article was penned from a misinterpretation of what the federation was discussing. If the directors are looking to impose some strategy around regulating the amount of players they put into their academies that after years of grooming can simply jump to another national team, then by all means that is a good strategy. I hope that this is the crux of the misunderstanding that led to the article....otherwise...well I rather not think about the alternative.

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