Angers condemn Bouhazama's 'clumsy' comments as Ligue 1 strugglers part ways with coach
Ligue 1 strugglers Angers have parted company with coach Abdel Bouhazama after he seemingly downplayed the seriousness of sexual assault.
Angers are languishing at the bottom of Ligue 1, having taken just 10 points from 26 games this season.
They are 10 points from safety and have failed to win a top-flight game since September, losing 16 of their 18 games since then.
While Angers stated Bouhazama had left due to the poor results, he also departs under the shadow of damning comments made during a pre-match team talk ahead of Sunday's 5-0 defeat to Montpellier.
Bouhazama is said to have told his players "It's not that serious, we have all touched girls", as he aimed to justify Ilyes Chetti's inclusion in his starting XI.
Chetti has been charged with the sexual assault of a woman in a nightclub last year. He will appear in court in April.
On Tuesday, Angers confirmed they had agreed to Bouhazama's resignation.
"The decision to resign was taken by him at the end of February after several disappointments on the sporting front," a club statement read. "In addition, a controversy arose on Monday after comments, taken out of context, made during the pre-match talk, were leaked to the local and national press.
"Faced with media pressure and in order to preserve the club's image and the serenity of the dressing room, Abdel Bouhazama announced to president Said Chabane that he had decided to leave his position as coach of the professional team. The president accepted the coach's decision.
"Angers unreservedly condemn the words spoken during the talk, even if they seem to be more clumsy than intended to trivialise a sexist remark.
"Moreover, the club does not accept any form of discrimination and condemns sexism and misogyny.
"Abdel Bouhazama has apologised to his colleagues, particularly female ones, and has therefore preferred to draw the consequences of both his record and his blunders."
Bouhazama took charge of Angers on an initial interim basis in November and was handed the job permanently during the World Cup break.