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 By Ian Holyman

Costa: Clermont 'lacked respect'

Helena Costa lasted just over a month in the Clermont manager.

Helena Costa has explained "a total lack of respect" from Clermont led her to quit.

Costa, 36, was the focal point of the world's football media when she was appointed by Ligue 2 side Clermont in early May, succeeding Regis Brouard to become the first woman to coach a professional men's football club in France.

However, she quit on Monday on the eve of pre-season training, and though she failed to detail her reasons in a press conference on Tuesday morning, she published a press release in A Bola detailing the inner workings of the club, which left her unable to take up her post.

"My departure is a collection of events that no coach would have been able to allow. It's a total lack of respect, and proof of amateurism. The sporting director wanted to sign players without my agreement, although I have to coach the team. I find it unacceptable that, within a professional structure, the coach learns of a player signing via the secretariat of the club by reading the names of players in a list of those who have to undergo medical tests.

"Even more amateur still is the fact the sporting director doesn't reply to emails or other messages five days before pre-season training starts," said Costa, who was supposed to run the first team in close collaboration with sporting director Olivier Chavagnon.

"The only information I received came from the club's secretariat. By email, I immediately informed the sporting director of my disagreement. His response: 'You wear me out with your tons of mails. I'm not at your beck and call.'

"It was same for the organisation of friendlies. I was informed by email. Due to a lack of information, meetings with the technical staff were cancelled, which is proof of a lack of professionalism."

"In light of all these situations, I asked the president for a meeting to highlight these problems, this negligence, this mediocre management. I told him that I would quit if the manager was kept on. The president never got back to me on the matter."

Clermont president Claude Michy, who had been hailed as a pioneer when appointing Costa, had described her decision as "sudden and surprising" in a press release on the club's official website.

He told press on Tuesday he did not understand the reasons for her departure. "She simply told me, 'I'm leaving'. She goes with her secret," he claimed, before adding: "She's a woman. They are capable of making us believe a certain number of things."

Costa, however, claims it was Michy who led her to believe she would be integrally involved in decisions concerning the team, and when reality bit, she had little choice. "I felt a profound disgust for this lack of communication in a situation that I judge to be serious. I did not want to meet the players, in order to provoke a meeting with the president and the sporting director. The latter, after a long discussion, admitted he had made mistakes in his communication vis-a-vis myself. As I have always said, I ask a lot of myself, and I want trust and sincerity around me. This succession of episodes made up my mind."

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