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French coach Lemerre to be replaced

Posted: Tuesday July 02, 2002 9:20 AM

PARIS (AP) -- The president of the French Football Federation said Roger Lemerre will be replaced as the national coach but his successor won't be named before the end of the month.

"I don't see another solution" to Lemerre being replaced, FFF President Claude Simonet was quoted as saying in Tuesday's edition of France Football magazine. "His successor ... won't be known officially before the end of July."

The FFF's federal council is due to meet Friday to decide on Lemerre's future. Lemerre has been expected to resign since France, the defending champion, was eliminated from the first round of the World Cup last month.

Simonet said he wants to set up a committee to name Lemerre's successor. He said he favors Le Havre coach Jean-Francois Domergue, while retired French soccer great Michel Platini told him he supports former Lyon trainer Jacques Santini. Platini is vice president of the FFF.

Domergue, a former French international, oversaw Le Havre's promotion to the first division at the end of last season. Santini led Lyon to its first ever league title last season before quitting, citing problems with club managers and fans.

"My voice is only one voice among several," Simonet said of his decision to back Domergue. "Even if the president chooses ultimately."

He said he was considering allowing Domergue to continue as Le Havre coach while also managing the French national team.

Former Japan coach Philippe Troussier has said he is a candidate to replace Lemerre and retired midfielder Alain Giresse, who trains Moroccan club FAR Rabat, has also expressed interest in the job.

Simonet said Platini told him that Fulham manager Jean Tigana wasn't interested in coaching France.

"I met (Arsenal coach) Arsene Wenger at the Brazil-England game, he told me he wasn't interested either," Simonet said.

The French team's next match is an Aug. 21 friendly against Tunisia. It plays Cyprus in a Euro 2004 qualifier on Sept. 7.

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