France boss slams ´destabilisation operation´ as player boycott threatens World Cup preparations
France coach Corinne Diacre has vowed to lead Les Bleues at this year’s Women’s World Cup, hitting out at a “destabilisation operation” amid a boycott of the team by several big-name players.
France are in crisis ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with captain Wendie Renard and forward pair Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto putting their international careers on hold.
The trio will skip the World Cup if major changes are not made by the French Football Federation (FFF), with Katoto saying she feels “no longer aligned with the management of the team”.
Reports have claimed the players want the FFF to call time on Diacre’s six-year stint in charge, but the former France defender insists she is going nowhere.
“In view of the shameful media outburst of recent days, I wish to publicly reaffirm that I am fully determined to carry out my mission, and above all, to honour France at the next World Cup,” Diacre said in a widely reported statement.
“My detractors have not hesitated to attack my personal and professional integrity without bothering with the truth.
“I will not let myself be affected by this destabilisation operation, which does not take into account my sporting record, and whose only objective is a personal settling of scores.”
Merci pour votre soutien et le respect de ma décision. pic.twitter.com/MOryINwvb0
— Wendie Renard (@WRenard) February 24, 2023
United States internationals Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan are among those to offer public support to the striking players, along with global players’ union FIFPRO.
The FFF pledged to examine the matter last month, and French media reports have suggested Diacre’s position will be discussed by the federation later this week.
France will begin their World Cup campaign against Jamaica on July 23, before facing Brazil and Panama in their subsequent Group F fixtures.
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