Roger Lemerre was so out of touch with French football sensitivities that he did not understand why he had to quit after the World Cup debacle.
That claim is made by the Paris magazine France Football in an expose of the two tortured months endured by the French federation between the retreat from South Korea and the return to action this week against Tunisia.
The magazine says: “Not only did Lemerre not understand he had no option but to resign, he even took with him proposals on how to rebuild the team when he went for a post-finals crisis meeting with federation president Claude Simonet.”
France Football also criticises Aime Jacquet, France’s 1998 World Cup-winning coach, for absenting himself from a federation executive meeting to discuss Lemerre’s refusal to quit. It alleges that Simonet was furious with Jacquet – who had originally proposed Lemerre as his successor – because the ex-boss “was, after all, a paid employee of the federation and paid to take his responsibilities.”
In the end Simonet had to summon a meeting of the federation’s council to dismiss Lemerre.
The magazine says that Simonet’s original preferred choice to succeed Lemerre wasJean-Francois Domergue but that he was persuaded to switch to Lyon boss Jacques Santini by executive colleagues Michel Platini and league president Frederic Thiriez.
By Keir Radnedge