Clermont appoint another female head coach to replace Helena Costa
Former France captain Corinne Diacre to take the job
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Saturday 28 June 2014
If at first you do not succeed... The French second division football club Clermont Foot 63 appointed another woman as manager Saturday days after being spurned by the Portuguese coach Helena Costa.
The club’s President Claude Michy – criticised for apparently misogynistic comments after Ms Costa walked out on her first day – announced that he had replaced her with the former France women’s team captain, Corinne Diacre.
Ms Diacre, 39, is the first French woman ever to obtain a full diploma as a professional football coach. She previously trained the French women’s club Sochaux and is the assistant manager of the France women’s team.
In a brief statement, Mr Michy said that Ms Diacre had signed a two year contract and would start work early next week.
Clermont Foot, a perennially struggling French second division club, caused headlines all around the world earlier this year when it appointed Ms Costa as the first woman ever to manage a fully professional men’s team. Last Tuesday, Ms Costa anniounced that she was leaving without meeting her players. She initially refused to explain why.
The club president Mr Michy told a press conference that Ms Costa had given “no rational explanation” for her departure.
“She’s a woman,” he said. “They are capable of leading us to believe in certain things and then…She simply said ‘I’m going’.”
“Was she scared? I don’t know.We couldn’t make her change her mind. She leaves with her secret intact. I am not the first man to be deserted by a woman.”
“It appears that she suddenly had a crisis of confidence but I have no idea what might have upset her.”
Ms Costa, 36, a former manager of the Iranian women’ team nicknamed “Mourinho in a skirt”, later disputed Mr Michy’s comments. She said she had realised that she had been hired just as a “face” and a publicity stunt and would have no authority to sign players.
Ms Costa said that she had asked the club’s technical director, |Olivier Chavanon, to keep her informed about the recruitment of players. He had ignored her emails over five days and then replied: “You're tiring me with your messages.”
Mr Chavanon “signed players without my knowledge for a team I was supposed to lead and be responsible for, when there were other financially viable possibilities,” she said. It became clear, she said, that she had been hired to be the “face of the club” to attract publicity but would have no real authority.
Latest in Sport
Riyad Mahrez to Arsenal: 'No price' is big enough to convince Claudio Ranieri to sell Algerian hotshot
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger 'optimistic' of making signing, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Edinson Cavani linked
Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2: Jose Mourinho uses forward Kenedy at left-back as frustration with Chelsea defence grows
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2: Blues' Twitter account jumps the gun, seconds before Joel Ward goal seals Eagles' victory
- 1 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 2 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up