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June 28, 2010

Escalettes to resign at council meeting

Associated Press

PARIS -- French Football Federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes says he will quit later this week following France's World Cup fiasco.

Escalettes says he will resign Friday at a meeting of the federation's federal council.

France was eliminated at the group stage in South Africa for the second consecutive major tournament under coach Raymond Domenech.

There were also open conflicts between the squad and team management. France players boycotted a training session in protest of Nicolas Anelka being thrown off the squad following an expletive-filled tirade directed at Domenech.

"My decision is mainly dictated by the desire to preserve and facilitate the evolution of an institution that I serve with passion for decades," Escalettes said in a statement. "I accept my share of the responsibility lucidly."

Escalettes is scheduled to appear before France's National Assembly for questioning Wednesday about the World Cup performance. It's a sign how seriously France's politicians are taking the defeat.

French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot earlier said she felt Escalettes' resignation was "inevitable," prompting FIFA to warn France it won't hesitate to suspend the country in case of government interference with the team.

France President Nicolas Sarkozy has also vowed to personally investigate the squad's meltdown.

France failed to win a match at the World Cup and finished last in Group A.

After six years in charge, Domenech will be replaced by former Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc, a World Cup winner with France in 1998 and a European Championship winner two years later.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press