Blanc's pledge: We qualify or I quit
PARIS -- France coach Laurent Blanc will quit if France fails to qualify for the 2012 European Championship.
Blanc, who took over from the unpopular Raymond Domenech after France's World Cup struggles, would step down despite having signed a two-year contract.
"It's Euro 2012 or I'm going," Blanc said in an interview with sports daily L'Equipe on Wednesday. "I will be judged on results. It's not my thing to keep going when I've failed."
Blanc's contract would normally take him well past France's last qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina in October 2011 and any playoff matches a month later. But Blanc is adamant he will not be like his predecessor.
When France failed to get past the group stages at Euro 2008, Domenech refused calls to resign and then won a vote within the French soccer federation that meant he stayed for two more years.
Blanc has inherited a team in disarray after the whole squad went on strike during a World Cup training session. Those players are suspended for Blanc's first game in next month's friendly against Norway.
Blanc thinks that is enough punishment and wants the matter to end, even though a three-member panel is examining what led to the dramatic events in South Africa -- and other sanctions remain possible.
France went out of the World Cup without winning a game, and the federation is keen to speak to Domenech and his staff about the fiasco.
"The essential thing is to turn over a new leaf. I doubt that the commission will turn up any new findings," Blanc said. "What I don't want to happen is for this to drag on throughout August."
France has its first Euro 2012 qualifier against Belarus on Sept. 3 at Stade de France.
Franck Ribery joined the strike at the World Cup in protest at the federation's decision to send Nicolas Anelka home after the forward's expletive-filled rant at Domenech was published by L'Equipe.
In front of television cameras and fans at the training ground in South Africa, the France players boarded the team bus, shut the curtains and refused to train.
"They all disappointed me," Blanc said. "I was there, glued in front of my telly ... telling myself: 'This is not possible."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press