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Helena Costa quits: Female coach leaves Clermont Foot before even starting

The Portuguese was due to become the most high profile female coach in football with her role at the Ligue 2 side

Helena Costa has opted not to take up her position as coach of Clermont Foot, the French second division club have announced.

Costa, 36, became the first female coach of a professional men's club in the top two tiers of any European league when she was appointed last month.

No explanation has been given for the Portuguese's decision not to assume the post, which the club have described as "sudden and surprising".

Clermont president Claude Michy said in a statement: "Helena Costa has decided not to honour her commitments in relation to Clermont Foot 63.

"Helena Costa will therefore not assume the (position of) coach of the club for the coming season.

"This decision was sudden and surprising.

"I deeply regret this situation. I thank all those who have supported me and I am most grateful.

"The operation of the club will continue with other stakeholders to prepare for the new season."