SWC cloud hangs over France

2010-08-04 07:43
Nicolas Anelka (AP)

Paris - The new Ligue 1 season gets underway this weekend with French soccer desperate for an image uplift in the aftermath of the national team's dismal Soccer World Cup showing and off-field infighting.

France were knocked out of the tournament in South Africa in the first round following a campaign marred by a player boycott of a training session in support of striker Nicolas Anelka, who was sent home for insulting coach Raymond Domenech.

"I fear our fans are disenchanted with soccer after what happened in South Africa," Frederic Thiriez, president of the French Football League (LFP), told Reuters after a pre-season meeting with Ligue 1 coaches and referees.

"It was a moral disaster and its repercussions could be serious on professional and amateur football. It could lead to a drop in the number of club members, a drop in attendances, a drop in television audiences, and a drop in income," he added.

"We must react urgently to put French soccer on its feet again. There are two ways to do it: produce a good show and go back to the real spirit and values of the game."

The curtain-raiser to the season last weekend, the French Champions Trophy clash in Tunisia between champions Olympique Marseille and Cup winners Paris St Germain, failed to provide the spark Thiriez had hoped with Marseille winning a shootout after a dreary goalless draw in front of 50 000 bored fans.

At least the result enabled Marseille, who host Caen in their league opener on Saturday, to keep the momentum that helped them end an 18-year wait for the French title and lift their first major trophy since they won the Champions League in 1993.

Nothing much has changed at the Stade Velodrome during the summer break, good news for the club after coach Didier Deschamps extended his contract until June 2012 after refusing an offer from Liverpool.

He has so far managed to keep striker Mamadou Niang, top-scorer in Ligue 1 last season with 18 goals, playmaker Lucho Gonzalez and Souleymanne Diawara, the anchorman of the defence.

Deschamps has been quoted as saying he wants to sign a top class striker and a defensive midfielder but has been hampered by a lack of buying power.

With a budget of 105 million euros, Marseille cannot compete for the world's best talent, unlike European powerhouses Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona or Chelsea.

Olympique Lyon, the most powerful French club of the decade, boast a 150 million euro budget but chairman Jean-Michel Aulas said he only had 25 million to spend and the only recruit so far has been Stade Rennes striker Jimmy Briand for 6 million euros.

Lyon, second last season after a strong finish, are hopeful of regaining a title they won seven times in a row before Girondins Bordeaux ended that run in 2008-09.

"We are going to build a team strong enough to win back the title but because of the economic crisis we must be careful," Aulas told reporters. Lyon are at home to Monaco on Saturday.

Bordeaux, away at Montpellier on Sunday, will begin life under Jean Tigana who has taken over from new France coach Laurent Blanc.

A poor second half of the season cost Bordeaux a European place and they must now do without key striker Marouane Chamakh who has joined Arsenal.

Read more on:    raymond domenech

Khune open to PSL switch

2015-03-27 14:12


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Bafana Bafana have crashed out of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after losing to Ghana in their Group C clash in Equatorial Guinea. What should happen now?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.