Costa explains Clermont snub

2014-06-24 21:40
Helena Costa (AFP)

Paris - Portuguese Helena Costa has said she quit her job as Clermont coach because she found out players were hired without her consent.

Costa, the first female coach of a men's team in a club from the first two divisions in the major European leagues, explained in a statement that the club's sporting director did not reply to any of her emails during a five-day period.

She described it as "a sequence of events which no coach would allow as they revealed a total lack of respect as well as total amateurism.

"For any leader in an organisation who is responsible for a team, it's unacceptable," she added, also saying that she tried to take the case to the club president but could not talk to him either.

In a joint news conference on Tuesday morning, Costa and president Claude Michy would not disclose the details of the affair.

Michy just said that Costa was leaving "with her secret" and that he should have known better.

"She's a woman," he said. "They are capable of leading us to believe in certain things," said Michy.

Costa, 36, had previously coached the Iran women's national team and scouted for Scottish Premier League club Celtic.

No woman had come as close as Costa to actually coaching a top men's professional team in Europe.

Carolina Morace was appointed coach of Serie C1 (third division) club Viterbese in Italy in 1999. She resigned after two matches, citing media pressure.

Roma have had two women chairpersons, Rosella Sensi and Flora Viola, and in Switzerland Gisela Oeri was president of FC Basel for five years from 2006.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, France had Nelly Viennot as the first woman to be assistant referee in an elite match. Viennot also served as assistant referee in Champions League games.

Referee Bibiana Steinhaus officiates in German second division games. She is the first female referee in Bundesliga 2 and the first to have been a referee in the German Cup.

Maria Jose Claramunt is the director of Spain's national team, responsible more for marketing than sporting issues, and in England Karren Brady is the former managing director of Birmingham City and is now the vice chairman of Premier League West Ham United.

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