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Sports

Disgraced French coach Domenech faces lawmakers

Video by Florence VILLEMINOT

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-30

Outgoing French national coach Raymond Domenech (pictured) and ex-French Football Federation (FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes faced a parliamentary committee Wednesday in a post-mortem into France’s World Cup meltdown.

REUTERS - Outgoing France coach Raymond Domenech and the country's soccer federation president faced an uncomfortable hearing on Wednesday, needing to explain their team's World Cup debacle before a parliamentary commission.

Domenech, whose contract ended after France's group stage exit, and French Football Federation (FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes, who resigned on Monday, avoided media by using a back door to enter the National Assembly building in Paris.

The hearing was scheduled to be public but took place behind closed doors at the request of the FFF.

"I find it scandalous that those two people refused to speak in the presence of media," commission member and former Sports Minister Jean-Francois Lamour told reporters during a break.

"I can't understand what they need to hide from the French people," he added.

Domenech and Escalettes faced criticism for the way they handled the team's crisis, which culminated when the players boycotted a public training session in support of expelled striker Nicolas Anelka who had insulted Domenech.

"They are ill at ease," commission member Jean-Marc Roubaud told reporters outside the room where the hearing took place.

"We told them this was not a court and the purpose was to understand what happened and try to make sure it did not happen again," he added.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter warned on Tuesday that soccer's world governing body would suspend the FFF if France's politicians interfered in its business.

If France were suspended, the country would be banned from international tournaments and French clubs could not take part in European competitions.

France's woeful campaign and the players' revolt in South Africa sparked a national debate with senior politicians getting involved.

Domenech will now make way for 1998 World Cup-winning squad member Laurent Blanc, whose two-year contract should be made official at an FFF meeting on Friday.

Escalettes is likely to be replaced by a caretaker president until a new election is organised.

France finished bottom of one of the easiest groups at the finals with a draw and two defeats, making their second straight early exit from a major tournament after the Euro 2008 flop.


 

Date created : 2010-06-30

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