When Gérard Houllier heaped praise on Belkacemi
In October 2009, Belkacemi was made a Knight of the National Order of Merit (chevalier de l'ordre national du Mérite), a coveted civil honour in France. At a reception in his honour that followed the award, he received glowing praise from a number of leading figures in French football (see the video from the Visofoot website archives further below).
Among them was Gérard Houllier, then the FFF's National Technical Director (now mamnger of English Premier League team Aston Villa). "It's said that medals are like shells, they don't always reach their target, but in this case, concerning Momo, it hit the bull's eye," said Houllier, referring to Belkacemi by the popular abbreviation of his first name Mohamed. "Because if there is someone who properly deserves this distinguished Knight of the National Order of Merit, it's Momo."
"I am extremely pleased to take part in this event honouring Mohamed Belkacemi who deserves it a thousand times over for his actions, his complete support in the neighbourhoods," commented current FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy, then president of the Amateur Football League.
"The word merit, I believe, takes all its meaning, why Momo is an example, a fabulous guy," said Jean-Pierre Escalettes, at the time FFF president. "If football has a role other than organizing competitions, if it has a social role, a human role, well, here Momo demonstrates in these neighbourhoods, with the team he has built around him, that football is something marvelous."
Click screen to play video (in French only):
Mediapart's exclusive verbatim revelations of the discussions of the ethnic quota plan at the DTN's meeting last November 8th, were for a large part based on the recording of the meeting, published April 30th after our further investigations and interviews with various witnesses. Mediapart cannot divulge the source from which it obtained the recording, in which the plan was detailed in the presence of France team coach Laurent Blanc.
During the meeting, presided over by National Technical Director François Blaquart, suspended from his duties at the weekend, Blanc said he was "completely favourable" to the idea of "limiting" the number of children, from the age of 12, who are French nationals of foreign origin who, after having been trained in France, could, by using a right to dual nationality "go off to play in North African or African teams".