UEFA rules prevent Nice manager Didier Digard from attending press conference

OGC Nice manager Didier Digard was prevented from carrying out the usual pre-match press duties due to the fact he hasn’t not yet obtained his coaching licence. 

Like Stade de Reims, whose manager Will Still also doesn’t possess the required licence to manage, Nice pay a €25,000 fine each time they play in Ligue 1. However, beyond the financial implications, neither Digard’s nor Still’s job is affected. During domestic matches, both carry out the normal pre-match and post-match press conferences, whilst also regularly appearing in broadcaster interviews.

However, an obscure UEFA ruling meant that Digard couldn’t fulfil his duties ahead of Nice’s UEFA Europa Conference League match against Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday. The Frenchman, who played for Paris Saint-Germain and Middlesborough during his playing days, was promoted from his role in Lucien Favre’s backroom staff to succeed the Swiss manager when he was sacked in early January and is yet to obtain his licence. 

As a result, assistant Julien Sablé had to front up to the media in Wednesday’s press conference, attended by Get French Football News journalist Luke Entwistle.The rule did not prevent Digard from fulfilling his pre-match and post-match media obligations during the first leg of the tie held in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau last week because UEFA give clubs 60 days for the manager, once hired, to obtain the necessary licence. The 60 days had not passed at the time of the first leg but now have. 

Sources contacted by Get French Football News have revealed that Nice were in dialogue with UEFA until yesterday in order to try and find a solution, but with one not being reached in time, Les Aiglons, fearing a potential sanction, made the necessary switch in today’s conference. UEFA don’t publicise the potential sanction for such a breach, meaning that the penalty could have been severe. 

Regardless of his absence from the press conference on Wednesday, Digard will be on the bench on Thursday, although due to UEFA rules, he will not officially be registered as the manager. Sablé will instead be registered as the manager and Digard as the assistant. Sablé will also carry out the post-match press duties. 

Nice carry a one-goal advantage into Thursday’s second leg at the Allianz Riviera, and are the last French representative in European competition this season following PSG’s Champions League elimination at the hands of Bayern Munich. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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