France manager Laurent Blanc was expected Monday to give his version of events to officials investigating if he and other top coaches discussed the possibility of introducing quotas at training academies for young French players with dual nationality, many of them black or Arab.
The 1998 World Cup winner, whom France's sports minister has said is ''devastated'' and ''very demoralized'' by the controversy over the alleged discussions between him and other coaches, was coming to Paris to speak at the hearing, said a sports official.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the inquiries by the French Football Federation and France's sports ministry. The hearing's location was being kept secret.
The probes were ordered after news site Mediapart reported that Blanc, FFF technical director Francois Blaquart, under-21 coach Erick Mombaerts and under-20 coach Francis Smerecki talked at a November meeting about how to deal with gifted and young dual-nationality French footballers who could go on to play for countries other than France.
According to Mediapart's transcript, Blaquart suggested that an unspoken ''sort of quota'' could be introduced to limit their numbers in training academies.
Blanc was quoted as saying that ''it bothers me enormously'' when players who represented France at youth level later ''go to play in North African or African teams.''
''That has to be limited,'' Mediapart quoted Blanc as saying.
Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno has said that discriminatory quotas targeting dual-national players would be ''totally illegal'' if they were put in place.
But she also has defended Blanc, saying that he is not a racist. The findings of her ministry's probe are expected on Monday or Tuesday. Many leading French football personalities also have spoken up for Blanc, including his 1998 World Cup teammate Zinedine Zidane, who told sports newspaper L'Equipe that Blanc is not a racist and should keep his job.
Blanc has acknowledged that some of the language used at the meeting was ''ambiguous'' and said he apologized ''if I have offended some people's sensibilities.''
He also said the debate ''was obviously not aimed at reducing the number of blacks and Arabs in French football.''
Le Parisien newspaper on Monday quoted Blaquart as saying that their discussion was never meant to become public but also expressing regret at his choice of words. He is suspended pending the conclusions of the probes.
''I'm now aware that even thinking about this idea was an error,'' Le Parisien quoted him as saying. ''The France team remains and will remain open to everyone.''