France boss says no deal for Blanc

Laurent Blanc Bordeaux FB_20100107150502_JPG
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French football federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes has denied a deal is being made for Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc to take over from Raymond Domenech as coach of the national team.

Le Parisisen newspaper reported Thursday that Blanc has already started talks with senior members of the FFF, which is set to name Domenech's successor either in April or May.

"This is totally false. It's ridiculous. I completely deny it," Escalettes said on RMC radio Thursday. "I would be the first to know. We haven't reached the point where we are talking about an eventual successor. It will come when it comes."

After six years of an often troubled reign, Domenech will stand down after the June 11-July 11 World Cup in South Africa.

The 44-year-old Blanc would likely prove a popular choice. Well liked by fans, who remember his performances when France won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship two years later, Blanc guided Bordeaux to the French title and the League Cup last season. Bordeaux has a comfortable lead at the top this season, and is still in both cup competitions.

Former Fulham boss Jean Tigana, Domenech's current assistant coach, is a possible contender, along with Alain Boghossian, and former France midfielder Luis Fernandez. Domenech has said that Cameroon boss Paul Le Guen and Gabon's Alain Giresse could also be candidates.

Domenech will announce his 23-man World Cup squad on May 2. France, the 1998 World Cup winner and runner-up to Italy in 2006, plays Uruguay, Mexico and South Africa in Group A of the World Cup.

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