Saudi Arabia manager Hervé Renard is now the French FA’s favourite choice for the vacant position of France’s women team manager, according to a report from L’Equipe. The 54-year-old, who won two AFCON titles with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015, is said to have been preferred to former Bordeaux and Lille manager Jocelyn Gourvennec, who claims he has turned the job down. But there’s a catch. Renard, on the back of a remarkable 2022 World Cup group stage where Saudi Arabia stunned eventual winners Argentina, is tied to a long-term contract with the Saudi FA set to expire in 2027.
For the French FA to appoint Renard as the new Les Bleues’ boss, he must terminate his contract with the Saudi FA. L’Équipe adds that Renard will meet the Saudi FA president to resolve the matter. The Saudi manager is reportedly very keen on a return to France and would not make it a question of money, given that the French FA can’t match his reported €4m yearly salary.
L’Équipe adds that former France’s women team assistant coach Éric Blahic was interviewed for the manager’s job. Blahic resigned from his role two years ago amid tensions with then Les Bleues’ manager Corinne Diacre. However, Blahic would not turn down the opportunity to be reinstated as assistant coach. France’s U20 manager Sonia Haziraj is reportedly keen to join the next coaching staff as well.
RMC report that Hervé Renard has now had two meetings with the FFF and that the deal occurring will come down to whether or not the Saudi FA intend to allow him out of his current contract.
Ex-Bordeaux and Lille boss Jocelyn Gourvennec on Saturday gave an interview to Sud-Ouest where he explained that he has turned down the job offer:
“I said to them that I hd thought about it, that recently above all what’s been discussed around the team is conflict. But that there are two super competitions to come (World Cup in 2023, Olympics in 2024) and that as the women want more professionalism, the organisation needs to be staffed like a Champions’ League team: 2 assistants, 2 fitness coaches, a nutritionist. We shared a number of things and gave a deadline of 72 hours. But a national team coach is not the same job and I want to continue to train daily, with a club.”
GFFN | Bastien Cheval