French football federation head resigns after World Cup fiasco


Paris: The head of France’s governing football body, the French Football Federation (FFF), announced his resignation Monday in the wake of the humiliating performance of the national team in South Africa, French radio announced.

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Jean-Pierre Escalettes said in a statement that he considered it his “duty to resign” after France crashed out in the group stage of the World Cup and players boycotted a training session, provoking outrage at home.

The one-day strike by the players was staged to protest the exclusion from the team of striker Nicolas Anelka for insulting team manager Raymond Domenech.

According to several French media reports, Escalettes decided on his own to kick Anelka off the team at Domenech’s request, and neither consulted other members of the federation nor spoke with Anelka or the other players.

“I assume, with lucidity, my part of the responsibility” for the World Cup fiasco, Escalettes said.

Many observers, including much of the media, slammed Escalettes for not firing Domenech after Euro 2008, when France also crashed out in the group stage.

He will officially tender his resignation at the July 2 meeting of the FFF council, he said.

Escalettes’ fate was effectively sealed after President Nicola Sarkozy asked his ministers “to make sure that those responsible quickly assume the responsibility for this disaster.”

Shortly thereafter, Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot said his resignation was “inevitable.”

She was publicly cautioned by FIFA for that remark, and warned not to interfere in the workings of the federation. FIFA has in the past suspended several football federations because of government interference.