(WFI) France’s beleaguered manager Raymond Domenech has suffered stinging criticism from the country’s sports minister Rama Yade following last week’s friendly defeat to Spain.
“We should have replaced the coach after the fiasco at Euro 2008 and judged him on those bad results,” Yade told a French radio station. “It is a shame to see this poor style of play. We’ve got some great individual players but the manager has been so far unable to shape a team.”
Yade has also questioned the running of football in the country, prompting an angry reaction from French Football Federation (FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes and potentially undermining the country’s Euro 2016 bid ahead of the UEFA announcement on May 28.
Despite taking France to the 2006 World Cup final, Domenech has struggled to win over the French public since his appointment in 2004. Despite managing many of the country’s “golden generation” of footballers, such as Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry, the country’s style of play and level of performance has been underwhelming.
After France’s controversial qualification to South Africa in November, the FFF opted against renewing Domenech’s contract beyond this summer’s World Cup. It has since stated its intention to line up a successor by April.
Ahead of the Spain match, Domenech criticized the FFF timetable, saying it could “complicate” France’s preparations and “create tension”.
“Everything that comes from outside can disrupt, undermine and create weaknesses that could prove harmful during a long competition,” Domenech was quoted by AFP.
Mars partners with Scottish FA
The Scottish FA has announced a new four-year sponsorship with confectionery giant Mars.
Mars, now an official partner to the Scotland teams, will work with the Scottish FA on a campaign to encourage over 18s to play more football in a bid to arrest the decline in participation among adults in recent years.
Gordon Smith, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “The aim is to develop a long-term strategy that will encourage adults of all abilities to play football; whether it’s returning to the game or playing for the first time.
“The relationship with Mars will extend even further: working jointly to ensure the fans have greater access and input to what we are sure will be an exciting new era. As we look forward to the UEFA Euro 2012 qualification campaign, we’ll be working jointly with Mars to get Scotland fans closer to the team.”
The confectionery company’s partnership with the Scottish FA is part of it expanding commitment to football in the UK.
Mars has already partnered with The English Football Association and is an official supplier to the England team.
US bid promotes passion of fanbase
The US bid for the 2018/2022 World Cup has highlighted the passion for football across the country and its burgeoning reputation for hosting international matches.
The bid said the sellout crowd of 90,526 that packed the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles for a Mexico vs. New Zealand friendly last week was the “latest testament to America’s diverse and devoted fan base”.
The 1994 U.S. World Cup currently holds the records for the highest average match attendance at 69,000 and for the total tournament attendance at 3.6 million. These marks were set before the tournament expanded from 24 to 32 teams and from 52 to 64 matches.
Mexico will play four more World Cup warm-up matches in the US; they will face Iceland, Ecuador, Senegal and Angola as yet unnamed opponent before the tournament kicks off on June 11.
UEFA holds fans summit
UEFA president Michel Platini has hailed the support of football fans across Europe following a meeting with fans’ representatives in Nyon, home of the governing body.
“The supporters are the lifeblood of professional football – they are the identity of the clubs,” he said after the meeting.
“Owners, coaches and players change but supporters always remain. At UEFA we try to incorporate the views of the fans into what we do.”
Plans to host the UEFA Champions League final on a Saturday for the first time,on May 22, and providing a special allocation of tickets to parents and children was one of the items discussed.
UEFA was also represented at the meeting by first vice president Şenes Erzik and general secretary Gianni Infantino. The supporter groups were represented by the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) committee, which was elected at the European Football Fans’ Congress last July in Hamburg, and Supporters Direct Europe.
Harmon re-elected as head of Cook Islands FA
Lee Harmon was re-elected unopposed for another four-year term as president of the Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) at the congress in Matavera.
“I believe I still have a lot to offer in terms of the administrative affairs of football in the Cook Islands,” said Harmon, who has served as president for over 10 years. “I will work with the executive and board members to ensure the progress of football is maintained.”
Under Harmon’s tenure, CIFA has relocated its administrative operations to the National Academy in Matavera, now the hub for football development in the country. The academy includes two international-sized pitches, accommodation, an education centre and spectator seating.
reporting from Mark Bisson and James Corbett
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