- The French Football Federation (FFF) announced Thursday, via a statement, to have removed Corinne Diacre from her position as coach of the women's France team.
- This decision will push the commission commissioned by the Executive Committee of the FFF to react quickly, while the successor of Corinne Diacre will be immediately immersed in the preparation of the World Cup, which will take place from July 20 to August 20 in Australia and New Zealand.
- "20 Minutes" lists the five main contenders expected, with current Paris Saint-Germain coach Gérard Prêcheur at the top of the list.
There was no need to wait for the official eviction of Corinne Diacre, Thursday during the Comex of the French Football Federation (FFF), to see a list of potential successors leaked to the media. For fans of women's football, these names are for most of them not a surprise. Here are the five profiles that seem to hold the rope in the eyes of the four members of the commission commissioned by the FFF Executive Committee, namely the presidents of OL and RC Strasbourg Jean-Michel Aulas and Marc Keller, but also former international players Aline Riera (general treasurer of the FFF) and Laura Georges (general secretary).
Gérard Prêcheur, the favourite
If there is one character who is unanimous or almost unanimous in women's football in France, it is him. Her experience as director of the Women's France Division in Clairefontaine (from 2000 to 2004) and then as head of the women's high level at the FFF earned her multiple tributes from the previous generation of players on the France team, from Camille Abily to Elodie Thomis. "If I am the player I have become today, it is thanks to him," summed up former OL and Les Bleues captain Sonia Bompastor in 2012. Technically, tactically, physically, mentally, he taught me everything. »
This trainer focused on the possession game won eight of the nine possible trophies during his three seasons at Olympique Lyonnais (from 2014 to 2017). Linked since last August to Paris Saint-Germain, Gérard Prêcheur will therefore have to free himself from his Parisian contract "as soon as possible" (according to Thursday's press release from the FFF) if he wants to rush to the bench of the Blues. Won't PSG prefer to block it, while the double clash against Wolfsburg, in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, is presented on March 22 and 30? It is quite possible, and even Jean-Michel Aulas, interviewed this Friday by L'Equipe, does not seem hot for this option: "The objective of the Comex is not to go and destitute clubs, especially if they are ambitious and about to win competitions".
Moreover, the 63-year-old coach has another disadvantage: if the players he had at OL (Renard, Henry, Le Sommer...) respect and appreciate him, his lease in the Rhône ended badly with President Aulas. "There was an incompatibility with Jean-Michel Aulas and our collaboration could not exceed three years," said after his departure Gérard Prêcheur, particularly annoyed that JMA insists so much in 2017 to recruit and then play the American star Alex Morgan. The presence of the OL boss on the commission commissioned by Philippe Diallo to audition the candidates does not really argue for him.
Sonia Bompastor, first and foremost from Lyon
Like Gérard Prêcheur, Sonia Bompastor has the major flaw of already being under contract. And not just anywhere, there either, since the former full-back with 156 selections in the France team is the head coach on the bench of Olympique Lyonnais. Winner of the Champions League last year alongside her friend and assistant Camille Abily, the 42-year-old technician must face Chelsea for a double European shock on March 22 and 30. It is hard to imagine Jean-Michel Aulas validating his departure in the middle of the season, while his club is as last year at the top of the women's D1 with her.
Very close to the young generation trained at OL, namely Selma Bacha and Melvine Malard, his profile marked by the culture of winning would in any case hold the road. Especially since this is the main female candidacy to emerge, even more than Paris FC coach Sandrine Soubeyrand. And in view of the crisis within the FFF, symbolized by the damning audit for Noël Le Graët, the appointment of a woman with recognized skills at the head of this group would make sense.
Patrice Lair, the strong character
To complete the trio of essential women's football in France, we can not miss the candidacy of Patrice Lair. On February 26, the current Bordeaux coach summed up his position after the Women's D1 match in Lyon (3-0): "I feel things that hurt this football and we are no longer moving forward. Football leaders must restore ambition and the desire to go see women's football. I've been hearing about this position for ten years and I'd be stupid to turn it down." If the opportunity arises for the man who became in 2011 and 2012 the first French coach to win the Women's Champions League with OL, he will do everything to be there.
If his management methods have not always been unanimous in Lyon (from 2010 to 2014) or PSG (from 2016 to 2018), this strong character remains one of the main faces of a winning France in women's football. This could not hurt a selection whose glass ceiling remains the semi-finals on a major tournament (World Cup 2011, Olympic Games 2012 and Euro 2022). Like Gérard Prêcheur and Sonia Bompastor, Patrice Lair (61) is under contract at Bordeaux, but it is probably easier to leave a club in full soft underbelly of Division 1 (7th) than a big team in contention for a treble C1-D1-Coupe de France like PSG and OL. One thing is certain: his candidacy is not likely to be supported by Laura Georges, whom he had pushed out at both OL and PSG.
Eric Blahic, the choice of the group?
Here is a track a little more surprising, but L'Equipe assured last week that Eric Blahic was the preferred choice by the dressing room of the women's France team. For a year and a half (from January 2020 to June 2021), the 57-year-old Breton was Corinne Diacre's assistant, without participating in a major competition. "It's the best option and by far, he's free, knows the group, and his tactical skill had done good," a current French international told L'Equipe anonymously. In addition to this supposed support of the group, while he has never hung with the methods of Corinne Diacre, Eric Blahic presents as an asset to be free. But the former assistant of Jocelyn Gourvennec at Guingamp and Bordeaux has never been a head coach at the professional level, which should be a serious brake, especially given the tense context around the Blues, and "high objectives" for the World Cup posted by the FFF press release.
Hervé Renard, the chef's surprise
So this one, we did not see it coming: according to RMC Sport, Hervé Renard would be in the race to succeed Corinne Diacre. At 54, the current coach of Saudi Arabia has never had the slightest experience in women's football. On the other hand, he is the man of the big tournaments, and more stamped coach than coach, given his mixed experiences with Sochaux and Losc. His main achievement is to have won two African Cups of Nations with Zambia (2012) and Ivory Coast (2015).
🇸🇦🤯 #beINFWC2022 Find Hervé Renard's incredible speech at half-time Argentina - Saudi Arabia...
🗣️ "Take out your phone to take a picture with Messi !!!"
💪 The rest of this match is history... pic.twitter.com/FjOO0vo2lN
— beIN SPORTS (@beinsports_FR) November 25, 2022
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The hype around the character was still there during the World Cup in Qatar, where every football fan in France replayed his speech about 47 times in anthology English at half-time of the inaugural feat against the future world champion Argentina (2-1). Certainly the very big rating of the list, especially since Jean-Michel Aulas is clear about him, this Friday in L'Equipe: "I do not believe in his candidacy". If the prospect of a World Cup-Olympic sequence in France in one year is attractive, his salary at the head of the Saudi selection (he is under contract until 2027) seems to be at least as much. But even if you opt for an explosive profile outside women's football, admit that it would have much more mouth than the very bland era, from 2013 to 2017 at the head of the Blues, Philippe Bergeroo and Olivier Echouafni.
- Women's football
- Women's France Team
- Corinne Deacon
- Jean-Michel Aulas