France women boss Corinne Diacre is sacked after a number of stars refused to play under her management – with FFF chiefs branding the fallout ‘IRREVERSIBLE’ – just 24 hours after she vowed to fight on and lead the team at this year’s World Cup
- Captain Wendie Renard and two others suspended their international careers
- They were left unhappy by a perceived lack of professionalism in Diacre’s set-up
- One day after vowing to fight on, the 48-year-old has been relieved of her duties
Corinne Diacre has been sacked as France women boss five months before the World Cup after three players suspended their international careers in protest at her management.
The Executive Committee of the French Football Federation made the decision at their meeting on Thursday, stating that the rift between Diacre and her players was ‘irreversible’ and the fracture had reached a point of ‘no return’.
Captain Wendie Renard was the first player to refuse to play for Les Bleus until further notice before Paris Saint-Germain stars Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani followed suit.
Players had criticised Diacre’s management style as well as a lack of professionalism in the national team set-up.
Diacre had hit back at those claims in a statement released on Wednesday, claiming she had been the target of a ‘violent’ smear campaign and vowed to fight on and lead her country at this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Corinne Diacre (pictured) has been sacked as France women manager ahead of the World Cup
Captain Wendie Renard suspended her international career in protest at Diacre’s management
Kadidiatou Diani (L) slammed the ‘lack of professionalism’ in the France set-up after she and Marie-Antoinette Katoto (C) also refused to play under Diacre
The 48-year-old had signed a new contract after the Euros but her position was weakened when Noel Le Graet, one of her biggest supporters, resigned as FFF president following allegations of sexual abuse.
The FFF commissioned an executive committee to investigate the situation of the women’s team following the actions taken by Renard, Diani and Katoto and found there to be a significant divide between Diacre and a number of experienced players.
The FFF also stated that the methods players used to express their criticism would ‘no longer be acceptable’ and that they intent to propose new laws.
A full statement from the FFF said: ‘The Executive Committee of the FFF, meeting this Thursday, March 9, received the conclusions of the commission commissioned by the interim President, Philippe Diallo, to draw up a report on the situation of the French Women’s Team, following the various positions of several players.
‘Composed of four members of the Comex (Laura Georges, Aline Riera, Jean-Michel Aulas and Marc Keller), this commission delivered its conclusions and proposed its recommendations. The numerous hearings carried out made it possible to establish the observation of a very significant divide with executive players and highlighted a discrepancy with the requirements of the very high level. This fracture has reached a point of no return which harms the interests of the selection.
‘If the FFF recognises the involvement and the seriousness of Corinne Deacon and her staff in the exercise of their mission, it appears that the dysfunctions observed seem, in this context, irreversible. In view of these elements, it was decided to put an end to the mission of Corinne Diacre at the head of the French women’s team.
‘This change of coach is part of a new global ambition led by the FFF in favor of the development of women’s football and the performance of the French team, which will have to achieve high objectives during the 2023 World Cup. (July 20 to August 20) and the 2024 Olympics.
The 48-year-old has been axed five months before the World Cup, with FFF chiefs branding the fallout ‘irreversible’
Diacre only signed a new deal last summer, but her position was weakened when Noel Le Graet, one of her biggest supporters, resigned as FFF president over sexual abuse allegations
The actions taken by players including Renard forced the FFF to end her reign as manager
‘Philippe Diallo asked the commission to audition, as soon as possible, the candidates for the post of coach and to formulate its recommendations.
‘The Comex also noted that the way used by the players to express their criticisms was no longer acceptable in the future and intends to propose in the governance of the French women’s team an additional mission between the Comex and the coach.’
While Diacre did have some support from some members of the French national team, she had a difficult relationship with many current and former players.
She stripped Renard of the captaincy in 2017 before handing it back to the Lyon defender after a fall-out with Amandine Henry in 2020. Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi also decided to ‘indefinitely retire’ in 2019.
In 2020, Henry revealed what had unfolded in the French camp at the 2019 World Cup.
‘I saw players crying in their rooms,’ Henry said. ‘I personally cried in my room sometimes. I wanted to enjoy the World Cup, but in the end, it was total chaos.’
Diacre endured a turbulent reign as manager, with several France players said to be left in tears in their rooms during the 2019 World Cup
Renard has said she would not play at this summer’s World Cup to protect her mental health because her ‘heart was suffering’.
Last weekend Diani gave an interview to TV channel Telefoot and claimed that Diacre does not have an assistant manager or specialised coaches. She also said players struggled to get access to medical treatment.
France have failed to reach a major final since Diacre took over in 2017. They were beaten in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup and lost to Germany in the semi-finals of the Euros.
Current PSG boss Gerard Precheur and Saudi Arabia manager Herve Renard have emerged as possible replacements.
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