There seems to be no ambivalence or finessing what Laurent Blanc said in those closed door meetings with Francois Blaquart. The words he uttered are not the words of an unwilling participant. These are the words of a person playing the racial divide, of a saboteur, a malcontent.
A high ranking whistleblower in the FFF confirmed what Blanc said even as the French national team manager continued to maintain his words were taken out of context. The chorus of voices expressing outrage continues to grow and has spilled into the larger sports community with Yannick Noah joining in. Blanc's words have reignited the issue of race and it affects not just the narrow world of footballers of different ethnic and racial origin but everyone not perceived as French, blanc, or beholden to the republic.
Blanc cannot commit himself to coaching the national team and pretend it was his evil alter ego indulging in a momentary lapse of reason. There are players who might feel team selection is based on the way he thinks and feels and not on sound footballing tactics. Of double standards employed in the future which subtly excludes them. It is not unlike the level of mistrust Raymond Domenech engendered with his personal biases and bizarre fetishes.
Domenech was the coach under whom the racial divide bubbled over leading to bitter acrimony and open revolt. The FFF appointed Blanc based on the level of trust and confidence reposed in him from his successful association with clubs including a large representation from the black and North African community. Blanc was also part of the multihued Les Bleus counting Lilian Thuram and Zinedine Zidane as compatriots in their 1998 World Cup triumph. A coach with impeccable credentials to repair the fracture and regain cohesion.
Blanc's first step was to start fresh with players untainted by the World Cup debacle. A promising beginning and a few good results to show. But a growing feeling that cleaning out the stable might now carry a different connotation is bound to split the sport once again and subsequently the nation. Patrick Viera on the controversy:
"If these people stay, then that's the door open to all discriminations. If football really wants to fight against this scourge, if the FFF want to show that they have the values of the Republic, then there are strong decisions that must be made. They shouldn't forget that they are the elite of football. It's they who will design the French football of tomorrow. It's they who are supposed to defend community harmony."
It won't just be football as victim. The FFF has to take a strong stand. Blanc needs to resign.