I’ve been subject of ‘smear campaign’, says France women’s coach Diacre

Amid reports of opposition from players and uncertainty over her future as France women’s coach, Corinne Diacre said on Wednesday she has been the subject of a violent “smear campaign” ahead of this year’s World Cup.

Former France captain Wendie Renard said last month she would not play in the World Cup. French multimedia outlet RMC Sport reported that Renard said she would not represent the national side as long as Diacre is in charge.

Fellow internationals Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani have also said they were taking a step back from the national team.

Renard was stripped of the France captaincy by Diacre following the side’s quarter-final exit at Euro 2017, before regaining it in 2021.

“… I have been the subject of a smear campaign that is astonishing in its violence and dishonesty,” Diacre said in a statement issued by her lawyer.

“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.”

The French Football Federation (FFF) did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

According to French media reports, Diacre’s future may be decided on Thursday by an FFF select committee.

Diacre said she had appeared before an FFF commission and thanked its members for allowing her to “dispel lies”.

“I am fully determined to carry out my mission and, above all, to do France proud at the next World Cup,” she added.

The World Cup, co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, will take place from July 20 to Aug. 20.

France have been drawn in Group F alongside Jamaica, Brazil and Panama. They begin their campaign on July 23 against Jamaica.

They are not the only team to be experiencing issues in the build-up to the World Cup.

Canada were in dispute with their national federation over pay equity issues before reaching an interim funding agreement with Canada Soccer and 15 Spain players have been frozen out of the team over a revolt against their coach.

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