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France news

Laurent Blanc to take France job

May 16, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Laurent Blanc has stood down as Bordeaux boss in order to become the new head coach of the French national side following the World Cup finals.

Laurent Blanc
GettyImagesLaurent Blanc does not have a tough act to follow with France

Blanc earlier told his players of his decision to resign, and will now be confirmed as Raymond Domenech's successor as les Bleus boss when the French Football Federation finalise the terms of the deal.

"I take note of the decision announced today by Laurent Blanc, the day after the last day of the Ligue 1 season, officially declaring his interest for the position of national coach,'' FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes said.

"Blanc spoke to me on the telephone after informing his president and his players. This declaration of interest makes me happy. His sporting history, his personality, his charisma, makes Blanc the ideal fit for the profile of the coach of the France team beyond the World Cup.

"In the coming hours, the FFF will take the necessary steps with the relevant parties to define the terms of an agreement allowing Laurent Blanc to take control of the national team next season.''

Blanc was named Bordeaux manager in June 2007 and won the Coupe de la Ligue and the French title in his second season at the club, establishing an impressive reputation in the managerial world.

This season, Blanc took Bordeaux to the quarter-finals of the Champions League but they lost to French rivals Lyon and also fell dramatically off the pace in Ligue 1, eventually finishing in sixth position, 14 points behind champions Marseille.

Bordeaux were keen to retain Blanc's services and were disappointed with the conduct of the FFF, blaming the governing body for contributing to the club's poor end to the season.

"FC Girondins de Bordeaux have just been informed by their coach Laurent Blanc that he wants to accept the offer from the FFF to become France coach,'' a club statement said. "The club wanted to keep Laurent Blanc as coach of the first team until the end of his contract on June 30, 2011.

"Given the special quality of the relationship with the coach during his three years at the club, and the excellent work by Mr Blanc, his assistant Mr Gasset, and his coaching team, FC Girondins de Bordeaux has agreed to talk to the FFF on the question on compensation relating to the release of our coach.

"Despite the damaging statements from members of the FFF, which have undoubtedly affected the end of the 2009-10 season and beyond, FC Girondins de Bordeaux express their willingness to reach a solution acceptable to the club, respectful of its interests and the damage suffered."

Bordeaux are due to give a press conference on Monday, though club director Nicolas de Tavernost said that Blanc's release from the club was conditional only on the club reaching an agreement with the FFF.

"For now, we have received no official notification from him," he said in L'Equipe. "Nothing is settled."

De Tavernost again complained about the behaviour of the FFF, who issued a statement in the wake of Blanc's announcement that only further angered Bordeaux.

De Tavernost said the FFF's behaviour was "not normal". "And it continues to be so, as they issued a statement without even calling us. It's quite amazing," he added.

Blanc was a leading light in France's World Cup glory in 1998, though he missed the final due to suspension, and has now signalled his determination to lead his country as head coach and replace the unpopular Domenech, who took France to the 2006 World Cup final but presided over a disappointing Euro 2008 campaign.