Noël Le Graët on France’s U21 squad: “I barely know half of them.”

In an interview with Ouest-France, FFF president Noël Le Graët discussed the state of French football following a year of disappointments, from the Euro 2020 quarter-final exit to the Olympic tournament group-stage defeats.

Le Graët once again came to the defence of U21 manager Sylvain Ripoll despite consecutive tournament defeat this summer, pointing at the constantly-changing squad as a potential factor contributing to difficulties.

“I regret and was upset that we sent a very weak team. It’s not the fault of those who went there, they did the best they could. Let’s not kid ourselves, we weren’t very good.”

“We’re going to look closely for Paris 2024, I’m meeting Gianni Infantino in Paris in two weeks, and then the club presidents. The clubs need to have an obligation to let go at least two U21 players. I’ll put that to a vote with the league and with the federation.”

“I see that [Ripoll] is working seriously, it’s the most difficult squad to manage as it needs to be constantly renewed. They hadn’t qualified for the Olympics in a while, nor for the U21 Euros. In his September list I barely know half of them, they barely start for their clubs. Things move quickly in that category.”