Helena Costa: Arsene Wenger says he is 'in favour' of female managers, saying 'why should women not manage men?'

Costa will take charge of French side Clermont Foot next season

Arsenal manager manager Arsene Wenger has given his backing to Helena Costa, after it was announced yesterday that she will become the first female coach of a French professional club by taking charge of Ligue 2 Clermont Foot next season.

"I like it. Men manage women, why should women not manage men?" Wenger said today in his press briefing, before adding: "It happens to us all at home.

"The only thing I was always a big defender of in my life is to defend competence. If you are competent, you get the job anywhere.

"Having looked at her experience, the only restrictions you could have is she has very little experience as a coach but maybe she has top qualities and will show that."

The Portuguese Costa, 36, who worked as a scout for the Scottish Premiership giants Celtic between 2008 and 2011, will leave her post as the manager of the Iran national women's team.

The French club said in a statement after the appointment: "Helena Costa will coach Clermont Foot next season.

"Helena Costa came through the ranks at Benfica before taking charge of the women's teams at Odivelas, then the national teams of Qatar and Iran, in addition to working as a scout for Celtic.

"This appointment will allow Clermont Foot 63 to begin a new era, relying on a group of 17 players currently under contract, which will be added young players from the club"

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger  

Celtic added in a statement: "We would like to congratulate Helena sincerely on taking up this new role. She did an excellent job for us and we know she will give her new position the same high level of commitment and dedication which she gave to Celtic."

The previous most high-profile appointment of a women as coach of a European men's team was Carolina Morace, who managed two matches in charge of Italian C1 side Viterbese in 1999.

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