PARIS - French Football Federation
(FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes said on Monday he
was resigning after France's World Cup fiasco.
France left the World Cup with one point and one goal
from the group stage after the team created a scandal by
boycotting a training session in support of striker Nicolas
Anelka, who was sent home for insulting coach Raymond
"I consider that it is my duty to resign from my role
as president of the French Football Federation," Escalettes
said in a statement.
"I accept my share of responsibilty", he added. "My
decision is essentially dictated by my will to preserve and
facilitate the evolution of an institution I have served
with passion for several decades."
The 75-year-old Escalettes, who headed the FFF since
2005, said he would officially present his resignation at a
council meeting of the ruling body scheduled for Friday.
French Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot had said last
week Escalettes's resignation was "unavoidable."
FIFA had reacted on Saturday by warning French
politicians to beware of meddling in the running of football amid national soul-searching and high-level meetings over
Les Bleus' traumatic campaign.
A former amateur player and English teacher, Escalettes
earned praise for solving the FFF's financial problems and
heading France's successful bid to host Euro 2016.
The friendly, bespectacled official had faced
criticism, however, since his decision to leave Domenech in
charge after France's Euro 2008 flop.
The controversial Domenech, whose six-year tenure ended
with France's defeat by South Africa in their final Group A
game last week, will now be replaced by Laurent Blanc.
"I want to pay tribute to Jean-Pierre Escalettes for
addressing the FFF's financial issues, obtaining Euro 2016
and developing football in France," French Olympic Committee
(CNOSF) president Denis Masseglia told Reuters.
"He certainly wanted the debate to focus on the future
of French football and not on whether he should resign or
not," Masseglia added.
Escalettes, whose current mandate was to expire in
2012, had faced sustained pressure since France's struggle
to qualify for the World Cup, which culminated with a
play-off win over Ireland featuring Thierry Henry's infamous
France's worries worsened in South Africa, with dismal
displays on the pitch and plenty of drama off it.
The boycott of a public training session in Knysna,
Western Cape, came after the FFF decided to kick Anelka out
of the squad for crudely insulting Domenech at halftime of
a 2-0 defeat by Mexico.
There was more controversy after France's defeat by the
hosts when Domenech refused to shake hands with Bafana
Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, whom he accused of
having said France did not deserve to be at the World Cup.
The former world and European champions finished bottom
of one of the easiest groups in the tournament with one
draw and two defeats.
Such was the national angst in France that President
Nicolas Sarkozy urged a football shakeup and met former team
captain Thierry Henry.
Bachelot, who was dispatched in South Africa to address
the warring parties and try to galvanise wobbly troops
before France's final group game, then slammed "immature
gang leaders" in the camp.
Escalettes had kept silent since saying after the
defeat by South Africa that he would not resign "because it
was not in (his) nature to abandon a sinking ship."
Sarkozy has called for a wholesale review of French
football after the outcry caused by France's disastrous World
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