The France Football Federation announced on Thursday that Corinne Diacre, head coach of France's women's national team since 2017, has been fired just five months ahead of the World Cup.
The FFF released a statement, explaining that there was a “a very significant divide” between leadership (Diacre) and a number of players, which had become “detrimental to the interests of the national team.”
Corinne Diacre sacked as France women boss, five months before the World Cup. The FFF said the fracture between players and management had reached a point of 'no return' and damage was 'irreversible.'
— Kathryn Batte (@KathrynBatte) March 9, 2023
While there has been tension on France's women's team since last year's European Championship, things began to come to a head in late February when team captain Wendie Renard announced that she would not play in the upcoming World Cup both to preserve her mental health and protest the "current system."
“I love France more than anything, I am not perfect, far from it, but I can no longer support the current system, which is far from the requirements of the highest level,” Renard said in a statement on social media via The Guardian. “It is a sad day but necessary to preserve my mental health. It is with a heavy heart that I come to inform you of my decision to step back from the French team. Unfortunately, I will not be playing in this World Cup under such conditions. My face may hide the pain but my heart is suffering … and I don’t want to suffer any more.”
Renard's message was reportedly in reference to Diacre. Two other players, Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani, followed the lead of their captain, saying they would not play in the World Cup until "the necessary changes" are made.
Diacre defended herself on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said despite the attacks on her character, she intended to fight on to bring a World Cup trophy home to France.
“I endured, not without great suffering, the display of slander, untruths and ambitions of some and others […] I have been the subject of a smear campaign that is astonishing in its violence and dishonesty.”
"My detractors have not hesitated to attack my personal and professional integrity without bothering with the truth. I will not let myself be affected by this destabilization operation, which does not take into account my sporting record, and whose only objective is a personal settling of scores.”
“In view of the shameful media outburst of the last few days, I nevertheless wish to reaffirm publicly what I told the commission. That I am fully committed to carry out my mission and to do France proud during the next World Cup.”
Less than 24 hours later, she was sacked.
According to The Athletic, France Football Federation interim president Philippe Diallo has asked that the executive committee begin interviewing potential candidates for the job immediately so they can make recommendations and move forward with the hiring process as soon as possible.