Les Bleus chiefs under investigation for limiting the number of Africa and Arabic players in training programmes.
The French Football Federation are investigating claims that coaches, including the national manager Laurent Blanc, have put a quota on players from foreign descent allowed in their training academies.
Mediapart alleges that plans were approved by officials to limit to 30% the number of players of African descent in training academies once they reach the age of 13.
The FFF technical director François Blaquart is suspended pending the inquiry, following an alleged transcript of a conversation involving Blanc, Blaquart, and the Under-21 coaches Erick Mombaerts and Francis Smerecki, in November.
Smerecki is quoted as speaking out angrily against the proposal, calling it a “discriminatory” idea that should never see the light of day.
The idea of the conversation was to find a way of limiting the number of dual nationality students playing for the French youth teams before deciding which country to play for.
A special commission is headed by Patrick Braouezec, who already led an inquiry examining the reasons for the strike at last year’s World Cup in South Africa.
All four officials will be interviewed by the commission, which also includes Laurent Davenas, the president of the FFF’s ethics council, and a member of the French sports ministry.
The quotas row comes just as Blanc was beginning to turn the team’s fortunes around following the World Cup debacle.
The French sports minister, Chantal Jouanno, urgently requested that the FFF open an inquiry just hours after Mediapart’s story broke last Thursday.
Jouanno wants it to be completed by the end of this week. The conclusions will then be discussed further at an FFF federal council meeting next week.
Lilian Thuram, Blanc’s team-mate when France won the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship, said he was shocked when he heard that race quotas had apparently been discussed.
France midfielder Alou Diarra and the striker Karim Benzema have publicly backed Blanc, but were upset at the thought of quotas being discussed.
Diarra, who has been France’s captain several times under Blanc, said that he hopes the coach does not resign over the affair.
Blanc strongly denied the allegations last week and said: “This project does not exist. All that, for me, is false.
“It is impossible to put quotas in place in football. If that was put in place, advocating one race above another, I would fall off my chair.”