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SBD Global/May 8, 2014/International Football

Ligue 2 Side Clermont Foot Names Helena Costa As Club's First Female Manager

French second division club Clermont names Helena Costa manager.
Portugal's Helena Costa will "be the highest-profile female manager of a European men's team" after being named head coach of Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot, according to the BBC. Costa is a former scout for Scottish Premiership side Celtic. She has coached the Iran women's team since '12. Costa, 36, "has also coached Benfica's male youth teams and the Qatar women's side." She "will join Clermont officially at the end of the season." Clermont Foot said in a statement, "It should help the club enter a new era" (BBC, 5/7). CNN reported Costa will succeed Regis Brouard who is "leaving at the end of the season when his contract expires." Costa is the first female coach in French professional football. Nelly Viennot previously served as an assistant referee in France. In Italy, Caroina Morace "took charge" of Serie C1 side Viterese for two matches in '99 (CNN, 5/7). FRANCE24 reported Clermont "will be the biggest men's club ever coached by a woman." Clermont President Claude Michy said, "Football people are surprised, but here are many women leaders in business or politics. In Germany, the Chancellor is a woman. It's important to be provocative" (FRANCE24, 5/7). Celtic added in a statement, "We would like to congratulate Helena sincerely on taking up this new role. She did an excellent job for us and we know she will give her new position the same high level of commitment and dedication which she gave to Celtic" (London INDEPENDENT, 5/7). In London, Gary Jacob wrote Costa "has studied under José Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, and Laszlo Boloni, the former coach of Romania." She said "it was a compliment" to have been dubbed “Mourinho in a skirt” in Portugal. Costa: “It was just a joke that stuck. I did internships with Boloni in France and Mourinho when he was at Chelsea” (LONDON TIMES, 5/8).

PLAYERS OFFER SUPPORT: In London, Julien Pretot reported Clermont is 14th in Ligue 2 with two matches to go. Forward Remy Dugimont told L'Equipe, "It's a big surprise ... It comes from nowhere. We'll have to learn to know her. We hope it is going to be fine but I don't think there is problem" (EVENING STANDARD, 5/7). In London, David Kent reported Dugimont "does not believe Costa's relative lack of experience in the men's game will be a problem, nor does he see issues arising with respect." Dugimont: ''I'm not macho. She has worked in the profession and all the boys know how it works." Dugimont's view "is shared" by teammate Anthony Lippini. Lippini: ''I spoke with the physio and we spoke about the first time a woman entered the army ... A very macho environment. Now there are many women in the army and it may be the same in football. I cannot wait for next season to discover. I'm really curious" (DAILY MAIL, 5/7).
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