In France, coaching a professional team is not easy. While the number of licensees explodes, women are still very often
shelved from positions of responsibility. This summer, in Brazil, the three-year term of Philippe Bergeroo at the head of the French women’s football team came to an abrupt end on a quarter-final elimination from the Olympic Games (OJ). Three years earlier, he had succeeded Bruno Bini. The latter saw then finish his mission at the head of the selection following another elimination in the quarter-finals of the Euro, despite six good years marked by two fourth places in the 2011 World Cup and the 2012 Olympics.
After nine years of male rule at the head of the Blue, the post seemed finally promised to a woman. The President of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët, first solicited the former international Corinne Deacon, the only woman to train professionals in Clermont, Ligue 2.
But, in front of his refusal, the Breton named for two years, in September, Olivier Echouafni. An announcement that surprised, since the former midfielder of OGC Nice and Olympique de Marseille had only a rather tenuous experience: two years on the modest benches of Amiens (National) and FC Sochaux-Montbéliard (Ligue 2). Elisabeth Loisel remains the only tricolor selector in history (1997-2007).
Women are in fact virtually absent from the high-end French touch benches. While the number of licensees has increased from 50,000 to more than 100,000 in a few years, we can only regret and wonder about this glaring under-representation. In addition to the “extraordinary” case of Corinne Deacon, there is only one female D1 technician, former international Sarah M’Barek.
Therefore, it is not surprising to find a domination of men in management positions, where decisions are made, where one imposes his authority. For example, less than 20% of the 1,613 technical manager positions in all French sports federations are held by women. In the 2011-2012 season, of the 136 high-level clubs in the five major group sports, less than 5% of the coaches were women.
French football is no exception. Only Elisabeth Loisel works at the national technical direction at the FFF. The former coach of Les Bleues, who was crowned champion of the military world in June 2016, deals in particular with the training of coaches.
The general secretary of the FFF, the former international Brigitte Henriques, does not veil the face. “The tank of coaches is not constituted. If tomorrow I want to choose between a man and a woman, it’s difficult. But it’s the same in all countries, even those that serve as examples. In Germany, twenty-one women have the diploma for pros. In Sweden, there are seven, and four in England, “says one who is responsible for implementing the feminization plan of the federation.
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