Football: Chinese make meal over football fondue row
China's women's football team coach said she had the full backing of officials despite speculation that she was to be axed after a row over food.
PARIS, Feb 18, 2008 - China's women's football team coach Elisabeth
Loisel said on Friday she had the full backing of officials despite
speculation that she was to be axed after a row over food.
The Frenchwoman, who was in October handed the task of leading the team at
the Beijing Olympics, has faced a torrent of criticism of her training methods
with Chinese media predicting her downfall if the team fails to impress at the
East Asian championship which starts in Chongqing on Sunday.
"I met with officials and the president and vice-president of the Chinese
federation assured me that at no time had they thought about a dismissal,"
Loisel told AFP.
The coach's problems started with an argument over an official meal. She
wanted the players to skip the event as it fell on the eve of a match.
"I was told that there would be a fondue, the day before a game. As coach,
I couldn't support this type of thing. But I didn't refuse to go, I just asked
for the date to be changed.
"It's a difference in culture. We are concerned with the coaching of
players, theirs is to the media and sponsors. I understand this but I can't
accept it for the team."
Team manager Zhang Jianqiang has been one of the Frenchwoman's critics.
"The well-being of the team is in the hands of the management not the coach,"