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FFF consider Domenech support

(GSM) – French football authorities are considering a new management structure to support national team boss Raymond Domenech.

The under-fire coach oversaw a stuttering World Cup qualifying campaign, in which France booked their place in next summer’s finals via a controversial play-off win over Republic of Ireland.

The France Football Federation (FFF) confirmed last week there would be no change of coach but Domenech, who took charge in 2004, may now be given a helping hand as he attempts to revive the nation’s pride in Les Bleus.

France have been far from convincing since reaching the 2006 World Cup final, finishing bottom of their group at Euro 2008, and Domenech has been criticised for not getting the best out of his players.

The idea of bringing in a general manager and a director of sport was discussed at a meeting last Thursday by Club France – an organisation created as an advisory board by the FFF.

And reports suggest Club France will propose installing Lens chairman Gervais Martel as general manager and former Liverpool, Lyon and France manager Gerard Houllier as director of sport when the FFF meet on 29th January.

“Six months away from the World Cup it would not be reasonable to separate ourselves from our coach,” said Jean-Pierre Louvel, president of the union of professional football clubs.

“So we didn’t have the desire to vote anyone out or impose a diktat. But we couldn’t just stand around doing nothing.

“We have to consider all the solutions so that the France team stirs up passion once again. Not to do anything would be a lacking of our responsibilities.”

Zinedine Zidane, who won the 1998 World Cup with France and retired after being sent off in the 2006 final, is the latest critic of the national team set-up.

The former France captain is baffled as to why Les Bleus are struggling so much given the wealth of talent at their disposal.

“This team is definitely open to criticism, although I prefer to look at the positives,” he said in an interview with France Football.

“It’s hard to see them playing like this while there are good players. It’s not nice to see them go out there with a lot of difficulty each time.

“Their qualifying group was well within their range, as well as the play-offs. Considering the value of certain France players, I am disappointed to see them play like this.”

Tue 22 December, 2009
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