Blanc steps down as France coach

The 46-year-old has left his role as Les Bleus' coach after their Euro 2012 campaign, with Didier Deschamps emerging as an early contender to succeed him
Laurent Blanc has elected not to extend his contract as France coach after two years in charge of his country, the French Football Federation (FFF) has confirmed.

Les Bleus reached the quarter-finals at Euro 2012 before being eliminated by Spain, and their campaign was also tarnished by a number of feuds within the camp, infighting between certain players, and incidents such as Samir Nasri's foul-mouthed outburst at the French media.

Blanc met with the president of the FFF, Noel Le Graet, on Thursday for talks regarding his future, and it has now been confirmed that the 46-year-old will leave his post in charge of his country.

"At the end of the period of reflection, Laurent Blanc contacted Le Graet, president of the FF to indicate his decision to not extend his contract as national coach," a statement on the FFF's official website read.

"Le Graet has acknowledged and applauded the work carried out by Blanc at the head of the France team since August 2010.

"The executive committe of the federation will meet on Tuesday, and the FFF and the president will make no comments, until a press conference scheduled for the end of this work session."

Blanc, meanwhile, has issued a statement explaining his decision and offering thanks to his staff, the France players and their fans.

"Upon his election to the Presidency of the FFF, Mr. Le Graët proposed to extend my contract to coach until 2014," he said.
"I had considered premature, at that time, to address this issue before the qualification of the team to Euro 2012, which to my eyes was an obligation.
"This qualification acquired, and despite my expressed wish then to consider my future over a longer term, the President referred to post-euro examination of the problem.
"During our discussions on 28 June, we have not managed to find an agreement on the management of the France team for the next two seasons.
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"In these circumstances, and at the end of the agreed period of further reflection, I could only confirm, this Saturday, June 30, my decision to not seek the renewal of the contract that proposed me by the FFF.
"Before turning the page, I would like to thank my staff for his loyalty and the quality of his work. I want to also thank the players for their involvement even if all 'has not always been perfect'.
"I thank also those who supported France team during these two seasons.
"I wish good luck to my successor and hope wholeheartedly that the French team be qualified for the 2014 World Cup to the Brazil."