Three French national team soccer stars will not play internationally
The GIST: With less than five months to go until the 2023 Women’s World Cup, three French national team stars, including captain Wendie Renard, stunningly announced that they will not play internationally until changes are made within the federation.
- All three players — Renard and forwards Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto — alluded to management issues, with Renard making clear she “can no longer support the current system” while “preserv[ing] [her] mental health.”
The background: Multiple French players have publicly criticized head coach Corinne Diacre since she was appointed in 2017. That year, Diacre notably stripped Renard of her captaincy, only to regrant it in 2021. Diacre also left Katoto off the 2019 World Cup team, despite the forward leading the French league in goals that season.
- The squad is ranked No. 5 in the world, but has never reached the finals in a major international tournament.
The response: The French soccer players’ union (UNFP) praised all three athletes as “extremely brave” for speaking out and insisted the French Football Federation (FFF) listen to “this cry of alarm.”
- The FFF responded by saying “no individual is above the institution that is the French national team” *eye roll* and that the issue will be addressed in tomorrow’s executive committee meeting.
The trend: This is just the latest example of international women’s soccer players taking a stand against their operating organizations. The CanWNT remains in an ongoing labor dispute with Canada Soccer, while 15 players on Spain’s national team refuse to play for their country until head coach Jorge Vilda is fired. It shouldn’t have to come to this, but more power to ’em.