Football: Roux too old to coach Lens

28th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 27, 2007 (AFP) - Veteran French football coach Guy Roux's contract to coach first division side Lens next season has been overturned by the Professional Football League (LFP) on the grounds that he is too old.

PARIS, June 27, 2007 (AFP) - Veteran French football coach Guy Roux's contract to coach first division side Lens next season has been overturned by the Professional Football League (LFP) on the grounds that he is too old.

The 68-year-old Roux, who retired after 43 years as Auxerre coach two years ago, had been set to make a comeback in charge of Lens.

But the LFP confirmed on Wednesday that the two-year contract signed three weeks ago had been declared invalid by their legal commission because Roux was aged over 65 years, the age limit allowed by the professional football charter.

Commission president Andre Soulier told AFP that they had voted 3-2 in favour of rejecting the contract, but that the law was not clear in this area and they would welcome guidance on the matter from the French National Olympics and Sports Committee (CNOSF).

"It concerned a point of law," Soulier said.

"The charter states that 'no contract will be registered in favour of an instructor who is over this age'.

"But European law forbids discrimation by age in employment. One can imagine that Guy Roux and RC Lens will decide appeal.

"The question remains on the legality or not of this charter. I would welcome an early ruling by the CNOSF," added Soulier.

Roux said that he was not surprised by the decision and insisted that "justice would be done before the CNOSF".

"I'd been warned that the legal commission is a body whose bible is the football charter and who work bizarrely outside the law. I knew at this stage it would be no. So we'll see what happens."

Lens president Gervais Martel confirmed they will be appealing to CNOSF.

 "I'm very disappointed, I thought that common sense would prevail," said Martel. "We're going to go all the way because we believe this decision is unfair.

"They followed the law to the letter without taking the situation into account. There are coaches in France who train under false pretenses while Guy Roux has all his diplomas and much more.

"I hope this affair will be settled before CNOSF and Guy Roux can continue to work with us - he has brought the club a lot since his arrival three weeks ago."

Roux is one of the best-known figures in French football as much for his managerial skills as his outspoken comments and television punditry.

He took unfashionable Auxerre out of the second division to win the French league title in 1996 along with four French Cup triumphs in 1993, 1996, 2003 and 2005.

Against the odds the club also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 1997.

Roux had been set to replace Francis Gillot who resigned after a poor end to the season which saw Lens blow their chances of playing in next season's Champions League.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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