International

Costa turns back on Clermont

2014-06-23 20:44
Helena Costa (AFP)

Clermont-Ferrand - Portugal's Helena Costa will not be taking over as the new coach of French side Clermont, a decision described by the club president as "sudden and surprising".

The 36-year-old Costa made global headlines as the first woman to take charge of a men's professional team in a leading European nation after being named in May to coach Clermont, who play in France's second tier.

"Helena Costa has decided not to take up her commitments at Clermont Foot 63," Clermont president CLaude Michy said Monday.

"This decision is sudden and surprising.

"I deeply regret this situation."

Clermont are a modest club from a city where rugby dominates, and they came 14th in Ligue 2 last season, while playing to average crowds of less than 4 000.

When announcing her appointment last month, Michy had been forced to dismiss suggestions that his move for Costa, who has a UEFA A coaching licence and a Masters degree in sports science, was a publicity stint and said that he had "chosen a coach first and foremost, not a woman".

Costa was previously a youth coach at Lisbon giants Benfica before winning a regional league title with Portuguese amateur club Cheleirense.

Since then Costa has had spells coaching the women's teams of both Qatar and Iran, and was also a scout for Scottish giants Celtic.

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