Earlier today, French legend Wendie Renard posted on her social media accounts that moving forward, she would be no longer a part of the French national team and would not be participating at the World Cup this summer unless something changed.
Renard stated that she would be stepping away as she can “no longer support the current system which is far from the requirements of the highest level” and in order to protect her mental health, she would no longer accept any call ups to the national team.
Her announcement was then followed later on by one from Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani, two of Paris-Saint Germain and France’s biggest stars.
Merci pour votre soutien et le respect de ma décision. pic.twitter.com/MOryINwvb0— Wendie Renard (@WRenard) February 24, 2023
The timing of this announcement from Renard, Katoto and Diani may have been a surprise to most due to how close the World Cup is now but the overall sentiment from them is not. There have long been complaints, both formal and informal about current French manager Corinne Diacre by players to the French Football Federation (FFF) that have seen the federation ignore those complaints and basically inform the players that they need to essentially “shut up and play”.
In fact, in some instances, players who lodged complaints about Corinne Diacre have then not been called up to the national team since, in retribution. Amandine Henry, Eugénie Le Sommer and Sarah Bouhaddi to name a few have not been seen in a national team jersey due to their discontent with Diacre and with the backing of the federation, Diacre has chosen to punish them and not call them up for any selections since. Katoto herself was not called up for the 2019 World Cup despite having the best season a French striker has had that year due to her disagreements with Diacre. This shows the ultimate power that Corinne Diacre has been given by the federation, even at the expense of winning major trophies.
The FFF did respond with a statement of their own, stating that they had seen the announcements made by the three players in question and would look to address the issue on February 28, 2023 when its Executive Committee is set to meet.
The interesting thing about this statement is right at the end. The federation notes that “no individual is above the Equipe de France institution” yet they have shown time and time again that this does not apply to Corinne Diacre. No matter what the results have been, the treatment of players both young and old, or how Diacre has responded publically to some of the allegations levelled against her, the FFF have clearly put Diacre above everyone else. This rule seems to only apply to the players and not the manager, which is strange considering that ultimately, it’s the players who go out there and perform as representatives of the federation while the manager stands on the sidelines.
This matter is far from over as the struggle between Diacre and the players has been brewing since her first training camp. We shall see what the FFF decide on February 28th and if, like so many other federations before them, they will choose the illusion of power over doing the right thing by their players.