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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Lemerre decision delayed
France coach Roger Lemerre
Lemerre's future is looking shaky

The French Football Federation has held off making a swift decision on the future of coach Roger Lemerre following the team's humiliating first-round exit from the World Cup.

The federation met on Friday amid widespread speculation that Lemerre would be sacked.

Lemerre did not hand in his resignation at the crisis meeting and FFF president Claude Simonet said a decision about the coach's future should "not be made in haste".

Open Quote
I feel this elimination as a failure and feel humiliated
Close Quote
Claude Simonet
FFF president

Simonet said they had given Lemerre time "to make his own decision regarding his future".

But it was announced following the meeting that they would reconvene on 6 July to discuss his future again.

Simonet denied that the meeting with Lemerre "was a preliminary meeting before the sacking," stressing that "it is necessary to think about the future of those who may leave us."

Simonet described the surprise ousting of world and European champions France without scoring a single goal as "just one of those things".

But he admitted: "I feel this elimination as a failure and feel humiliated."

Simonet stressed that Lemerre was "the master of his own destiny" and that the FFF was not in habit of "cutting off heads."

"I want to make the decision knowing the reason behind it so as to avoid making the wrong choice," Simonet said.

Didier Deschamps, Jean Tigana and Philippe Troussier - the coaches of Monaco, Fulham and Japan - have been linked to the post if Lemerre does go.

Deschamps captained France to victory in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 is a rookie in management terms with just one troubled season at Monaco behind him.

And the FFF may be wary of employing him having had problems when 1980s playing legend Michel Platini took charge of the national team in the early 1990s.

Deschamps holds the French record for caps with 103 appearances, and he captained his country more than 50 times.

Tigana, a team-mate of Platini's in the France team, was in the frame for the French coach's job when Aime Jacquet quit after France '98.

He has the managerial experience and the playing record to make him a serious candidate.

Tigana was part of the famous European Championship winning French side of 1984, alongside Platini, Luis Fernandez and Alain Giresse in midfield.

He led Fulham into the English Premiership but there has been speculation about his future following the arrival of Italian Franco Baresi at the London side.

Troussier has made a name for himself as a manager in charge of the Japan side.

In Japan he is known as the "angry man" a testament to his ability to turn from nice guy to bad guy, if his team needs a shake-up.

Other outside candidates are Jacques Santini and Raymond Domenech.

Santini led Lyon to the French title last season before stepping upstairs while Domenech is the successful French under-21 coach who brought through Thierry Henry, David Trezeguet and Mikael Silvestre.

Giresse, free after a spell at Morocco, could also have a chance.


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