PARIS (AP) — France coach Corinne Diacre was fired Thursday, only four months before the Women’s World Cup.
The French soccer federation’s executive committee made the decision after several players expressed their discontent with Diacre.
“The numerous hearings conducted have made it possible to establish a very important gap with some top players,” the federation said. “This gap has reached a point of no return that damages the team’s interests.”
Diacre, who led the French national team to the quarterfinals at the last Women’s World Cup in 2019 and was under contract until August 2024, said Wednesday she was the victim of a smear campaign.
The federation praised the “the involvement and the seriousness” of Diacre but deplored “irreversible” dysfunction during her tenure.
Last month, France captain Wendie Renard said she would skip this year’s World Cup because she was unhappy with the team’s set up. Following Renard’s decision, striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto and forward Kadidiatou Diani also announced they were putting their international careers on hold.
Renard did not go further into detail, but there have been strong tensions in the France squad for years between the players and Diacre. Diani said she would return to the national team only if significant changes are made.
The Women’s World Cup is scheduled to be played from July 20-Aug. 20 in Australia and New Zealand.
The commission that was in charge of auditing the French team will now start interviews for candidates to replace Diacre, the federation said.
Diacre captained the national team during her playing career as a defender. She made 121 appearances for France.
She took charge of the national team in 2017 and had already been criticized by players in the past. Three years ago, France midfielder Amandine Henry described the atmosphere at the 2019 World Cup as being tense and chaotic, with distressed players crying in their rooms.
Diacre was formerly coach of second-division men’s team Clermont, becoming the first woman to coach a men’s team in a competitive match in France.