Diacre claims ‘smear campaign’ as player unrest forces her out as French head coach

March 10 – Just four months before the Women’s World Cup, Corinne Diacre has been sacked as French head coach despite her claims that there was a “violent and dishonest” smear campaign against her.

Three players, including captain and star defender Wendy Renard, had announced they would no longer play for France if Diacre (pictured) remained in charge, having coached the side since 2017 after earning 120 caps as a player.

Renard said she had stepped back to preserve her mental health yet in a statement released by her lawyer in face of the player revolt, Diacre, who led the France to the quarterfinals at the last Women’s World Cup in 2019 and was under contract until August 2024, declared: “I have been the subject of a smear campaign that is astonishing in its violence and dishonesty.”

“My detractors have not hesitated to attack my personal and professional integrity, without bothering with the truth, four months before the World Cup.

“I will not let myself be affected by this destabilisation operation, which does not take into account my sporting record, and which has as its sole objective a personal settlement of scores.

“I’m determined to carry out my mission and, above all, to do France proud at the next World Cup.”

That won’t happen, however, with the French FA (FFF), already buffeted by the resignation of veteran FFF president Noel Le Graet, making the decision to get rid of Diacre, citing “a very significant divide with some top players. This divide has reached a point of no return that damages the team’s interests.”

The statement said a change was needed since the French “will have to achieve high objectives during the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics.”

Diacre had already been criticised by players in the past. Three years ago, France midfielder Amandine Henry described the atmosphere at the 2019 World Cup as being tense and chaotic, with distressed players crying in their rooms.

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