Corinne Diacre has vowed to fight on as France women manager and hit out at a ‘dishonest’ and ‘violent’ smear campaign after several players, including captain Wendie Renard, suspended their international careers.
Lyon defender Renard and Paris Saint-Germain players Marie-Antoionette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani have all refused to play for Les Bleus until further notice in protest at Diacre’s management and what they deem a lack of professionalism in the national team set-up.
Diacre, whose future is uncertain, has now spoken to the media for the first time and insisted she wants to lead the team at this summer’s World Cup.
‘In view of the shameful media outburst of recent days, I nevertheless wish to publicly reaffirm […] that I am fully determined to carry out my mission and, above all, to bring honor to France at the next World Cup,’ Diacre said in a statement given to AFP.
‘For more than ten days, I have been the subject of a smear campaign which astounds with its violence and dishonesty.
Beleaguered French boss Corinne Diacre has vowed to fight on amid the crisis in the sport
‘My detractors do not hesitate – without bothering with the truth – to attack my personal and professional integrity, four months before the World Cup.
‘I will not allow myself to be reached by this operation of destabilisation, which does not take into account my sports record, and which has the sole objective of settling personal scores.’
The French Football Federation are set to discuss Diacre’s position at a meeting tomorrow.
Reports in France have suggested the 48-year-old will be sacked and could be replaced by current PSG boss Gerard Precheur, while Saudi Arabia manager Herve Renard has also emerged as a possible replacement.
Diacre was appointed in 2017 and signed a new contract until 2024 following last summer’s Euros.
But one of her biggest supporters in the FFF was former president Noel Le Graet, who resigned last week following allegations of sexual abuse.
The France squad is understood to be split on Diacre, with several current and former players having had issues with the manager.
Diani gave an interview to TV channel Telefoot last week claiming that Diacre does not have an assistant manager or specialised coaches. She also said players struggled to get access to medical treatment.
Diacre has fallen out with several players over the years. She stripped Renard of the captanicy in 2017 before handing it back to the Lyon defender after a fall-out with Amandine Henry in 2020. Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi also decided to ‘indefinitely retire’ in 2019.
In 2020, Henry revealed what had unfolded in the French camp at the 2019 World Cup.
Captain Wendie Renard suspended her international career and said she won’t play in the World Cup
Kadidiatou Diani (L) slammed the ‘lack of professionalism’ in the France set-up after she and two team-mates including Marie-Antoinette Katoto (C) suspended their international careers
‘I saw players crying in their rooms,’ Henry said. ‘I personally cried in my room sometimes. I wanted to enjoy the World Cup, but in the end, it was total chaos.’
Renard has said she would not play at this summer’s World Cup to protect her mental health because her ‘heart was suffering’.
But Diacre is understood to have the support of some players within the French national team set-up.
France have failed to reach a major final since Diacre took over in 2017. They were beaten in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup and lost to Germany in the semi-finals of the Euros.