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Federation president takes the fall
by Paul Kennedy, June 29th, 2010 1:21AM

TAGS:  france, world cup


[FRANCE] Not surprisingly, Jean-Pierre Escalettes has quit as president of the French soccer federation in the aftermath of the French national team's blowup at the World Cup that was a national embarrassment. Escalettes' resignation comes only a month after he led France's successful bid to host Euro 2016.

"I clearly accept my responsibility," Escalettes said in a statement.

He said he would "help analyze the reasons behind the fiasco of the French team's performance in South Africa. I shall testify in front of my colleagues on Friday."

In the last two years, Escalettes had come under tremendous criticism for keeping Coach Raymond Domenech after the Bleus' three-and-out performance at Euro 2008 and a poor World Cup qualifying campaign.

The French government will investigate the national team's collapse in South Africa, where it earned one point in three games. Off-the-field problems were a national embarrassment.

Nicolas Anelka was sent home for not apologizing after allegedly swearing at Domenech, and the French players then boycotted a public training session in response to Anelka's expulsion.

Players complained about the pre-tournament preparations, the quality of the training sessions, their isolation at a luxury resort on South Africa's southern coast.

Pre-tournament games included matches in Tunisia and on the island of Reunion. The Bleus are so unpopular in France they didn't want to play any matches at their home stadium, the Stade France, where they won the 1998 World Cup.

"We can only note the disaster with a French team where immature bullies order frightened children, with a helpless coach without any authority, a French soccer federation at bay," said Roselyne Bachelot, the French minister of health, youth and sports. "That's the reason why the government has decided to take all of its responsibilities by first conducting a profound analysis, an external audit, because those who have failed cannot conduct this analysis."

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 8:38 a.m.
    Sunil Gulati should follow the same fate.

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