France boss says no deal for Blanc

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.