Raymond Domenech cut a pathetic figure as French team coach in South Africa, humiliated by his players during the Mutiny of Knysna and then bringing his country into further disrepute with an act of gross discourtesy as France tumbled out of the World Cup. The players have been punished; now it’s his turn …
France also had a weekend off for internationals and probably wishes it hadn’t after yet again failing to score (in Friday’s 1-0 defeat by Belarus in Paris). But the big news is the dismissal of by the French Football Federation of Raymond Domenech for his part in the scandal of Les Bleus in South Africa.
The letter of dismissal – Domenech remained on the payroll despite making way for Laurent Blanc as national team coach – is said to accuse him of gross misconduct.
Two of the three specific allegations are self-evidently true: the self-flagellatory exercise of reading out to the media his bratpack’s statement explaining their refusal to train, and his shabby failure to shake the hand of his South African counterpart Carlos Alberto Parreira after the final game of France’s unlovely World Cup campaign.
The third is that he failed to inform the FFF’s president Jean-Pierre Escalettes of the abuse he’d been subjected to by Niocolas Anelka at half time during the previous game against Mexico.
Despite the confident assertions made here by two contributors, there is no fourth charge: that Domenech did, on the other hand, inform the press of the row, triggering the events leading to Anelka’s exclusion.
I have said before that if he was responsible for the leak, that would have been reprehensible conduct. But it is also true that not a shred of evidence has been produced to support the suspicion that he did.
The two incontrovertible parts of the case against Domenech, reflecting conduct that has been sharply criticised here, are quite sufficient to warrant his dismissal. If the accusation of gross misconduct stands, he risks losing a payoff of up to €500,000.
As for France, the decline of a great footballing nation continues apace. Belarus are a team of modest talents but had little difficulty in keeping the French at bay before grabbing their own late winner. A tough second Euro 2012 qualifying game, away to Bosnia tomorrow, now awaits Laurent Blanc’s unimpressive squad.
“Under such circumstances we cannot say we are going to Bosnia to win,” Blanc has said. “After what happened on Friday, we need to remain humble.”
If the words humility and France go together uneasily, you nevertheless know what he means. In spite of Salut! Sunderland‘s quarrels with Blanc, we do hope the recovery starts soon.
Other French football news is thin save to note that our Ligue 1 of choice, Nice, led by the former Sunderland midfielder Eric Roy, are in dispute with Marseille over the transfer of Loïc Rémy. Medical checks have cleared Rémy to continue playing after initial examination had revealed the existence of a possible heart abnormality, but OM are withholding some of the estimated €15m fee.
Goes without saying that when the league programme resumes this weekend, we hope Roy leads his team to a thumping victory over Blanc’s old club, Bordeaux.