“We are not surprised at French FA revelations” say LICRA04 May 2011

French FARE partner LICRA (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme) has welcomed the recent revelations of negative quotas in football by the Mediapart website, saying it is “unsurprised” at the findings.

A story published last week alleges that that the French FA has tried to set up quotas to reduce the proportion of black and Arabic players in professional teams.

‘If allegations are true LICRA will take action’
“If this piece of information comes up to be true, this discriminatory policy goes against the French Constitution and constitutes an offence and will become a matter for the law. LICRA would not hesitate in taking action”, said a statement from the highly respected Paris based group that has been a FARE partner for almost a decade.

The statement which refers to the revelations in the Mediapart story as “shameful” says “until now, sports have not suffered so much from discrimination since they reward merit and talent. This case shows that football no longer does. Basing sports choices on race is certainly not the right way for the French FA to move forward; the French FA would be better off working to strengthen citizenship and responsibility within the players – and managers – as LICRA has been suggesting for years.

LICRA highlight the fact that quotas of any kind are banned in France, the very notion considered fundamentally anti-republican, “There is no denying that those possible practices reveal a context that goes beyond sports, and result from the ethnicisation of social issues, that LICRA has been denouncing for months through the rallying cry “No to the ethnic breaking up of the Republic”.

‘No coherent anti- racism policy within the French FA’
“We are not surprised that this situation has arisen since no coherent anti- racism policy has ever been devised within the French FA, despite strong calls for it to be done so.”

LICRA say they now expect Mediapart to share the evidence of the revelations and hopes that action will be taken if they are shown to be true. “Whatever the results, this case is a good opportunity for measures against racism to be taken by the French FA and the Sports Ministry. LICRA counts on the reforms in progress within the FA and on the approaching elections to bring positive ideas and is willing to work with them.”