Politician calls for end to Domenech era

Open letter to French sports minister demands 'urgent' sacking of national coach

French politician François-Michel Gonnot has written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Sports, Rama Yade, calling for the removal "in extreme urgency" of Raymond Domenech from his position as France coach.

Domenech continues to come under fire after France slipped to another disappointing result on Wednesday night, losing 2-0 in Paris to Spain.

Following a dismal Euro 2008 campaign, which many felt should have spelt the end of Domenech's tenure, France struggled to qualify for the World Cup finals and only booked their place in South Africa thanks to a controversial play-off victory over the Republic of Ireland.

Gonnot, a deputy in President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, feels Domenech must go if Les Bleus are to have any chance this summer. He wrote: "Game by game, whether it involves qualification or their preparation, Les Bleus make things worse and make fools of themselves a little more. It is clear that these players, who are among the best in all the big clubs in Europe where they play, are incapable of the smallest result as soon as they come into the France team.

"Specialists and our citizens have long understood that the responsibility comes back to Domenech. As long as he is in his post, the France team will go from disappointment to defeat."

Domenech was booed at the Stade de France and now faces fresh criticism for his team's performance. However, the coach claimed that, against such strong opponents, there was no shame. "I can see that Spain is a real favourite to win the World Cup," he said. "We know the quality of their game and their players and they showed that. On our side, there were some good sequences, but there were less good moments, and some poor passes in attack. But it took two goals from errors."

The France captain Thierry Henry said he understood why fans were jeering him after persistent booing from the home crowd during the match. "It's the same story as usual and it's not the first time I've experienced that kind of situation," he said. "I understand people were eager for us to play well against Spain and, when you don't, you have to expect being jeered at. I don't know if I deserved that but there is nothing I can do."

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