The current incumbent, Jacques Brunel, will leave the post after the World Cup in Japan this year. Among the names that have come up in discussion about Brunel’s successor are Eddie Jones and Warren Gatland, who both have current roles, however there whereabouts after the World Cup is uncertain.
However, there have been grumblings about the prospect of a non-Frenchman taking on the role. That prompted Bernard Laporte, president of the French Federation, to conduct a referendum.
The ballot asked the question: “Would you agree with naming a foreign coach as the head of the French men’s team?”.
Of the clubs eligible to participate, 51% of the 1800 took part in the electronic ballot. Of that number, 41% voted yes and 59% rejected the idea of a foreigner taking charge.
Laporte believes that clubs should have a say in important issues. Over the past two years, he has instigated a process of seeking their views by referendum. This was the first time that process had been employed using electronic voting.
Laporte saw the opportunity to seek the views of clubs as particularly relevant at the current time. He is looking to appoint a coach capable of enabling France to win the 2023 World Cup on home soil.
He reacted to the result saying, “It’s important for me to give the clubs a voice.”
And he insisted that he would take the result on board. He added, “I’m delighted with this expression of democracy, and I will, of course, respect this choice”.
Written by Colin Renton