French football mutiny as three stars leave women’s national team
PARIS — The France women’s soccer team was reeling on Friday when three of its top stars decided to quit, with legendary captain Wendie Renard claiming the current line-up was detrimental to her mental health.
Within an hour of the 32-year-old Lyon centre-back’s announcement, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto also announced they no longer want to play for France.
“It’s sad but it’s the only way to protect my sanity,” said the 142-timer Renard five months before the World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
“I will not go to the World Cup under these conditions. My face may hide the pain, but my heart is suffering.”
Forward Diani, 27, who leads the French league’s goalscoring charts, said she is also cutting ties with the national team.
“Following our captain’s announcement, I am suspending my involvement with the national team. If major changes are introduced, I’ll be back,” said Diani.
Katoto, 23, was equally outspoken.
“I no longer agree with the management of the French team or the values it promotes,” she said.
The French FA said it would investigate the matter next week.
“No individual is above the institution that is the French team,” the FFF said in a statement.
“We acknowledge their decision and our Executive Committee will examine the matter on February 28.”
France is coached by 47-year-old Corinne Diacre, who took over the team in 2017 and is under contract until 2024.
Although Diacre and the FFF have not been directly blamed by the players for their decision, the manager is known for an aggressive style and has sidelined stars in the past.
Renard himself was stripped of the French captaincy when Diacre was appointed and only got the armband back four years later.
Diacre’s decision to recall Kheira Hamraoui, who has a cold relationship with Katoto and Diani, may not have eased the crisis.
Hamraoui was the victim of an orchestrated and brutal attack in November 2021.
France international Aminata Diallo has been charged with aggravated violence and criminal association for her role in the Hamraoui ambush.
Diallo, who denies any involvement, spent five days in jail after being charged and has been under court oversight since her release in September. In January she was allowed to sign for the Spanish club Levante.
France have yet to win a major international tournament and recently lost to both Germany and Sweden.
French football has recently been plagued by controversy involving Noel Le Graet, the president of the French Football Federation who has been suspended since January.
The 81-year-old has been under pressure since he sniffed in a radio interview about French legend Zinedine Zidane’s possible interest in coaching the national team.
A report commissioned by the Sports Ministry also focused on allegations of “inappropriate behavior” towards women.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch