Diani and Katoto join Renard's France boycott as FFF faces crisis ahead of Women's World Cup

Getty Images

France forwards Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto joined captain Wendie Renard in a boycott of the national team as a crisis erupted ahead of the Women's World Cup.

Lyon veteran Renard announced on Friday she would not represent France in Australia and New Zealand later this year unless major changes are implemented.

Renard spoke of wanting to protect her mental health, attacking the "current system".

She did not name head coach Corinne Diacre, who has overseen a controversial reign, but reports claimed Renard would refuse to return if Diacre and her staff remain in place.

Within hours, Paris Saint-Germain players Diani and Katoto followed suit by announcing they too would be unavailable for selection, with both also offering a scathing indictment of the national set-up.

"The words of our captain Wendie lead me in turn to talk about the situation in the France team," Katoto wrote.

She said she felt "no longer aligned with the management of the France team and the values transmitted".

"I therefore make the decision to put my international career on hold until the necessary changes are applied," Katoto added.

Diani added: "Following the announcement from our captain Wendie Renard and in view of recent results and management in the France team, I am suspending my international obligations in order to concentrate on my club career.

"If the profound necessary changes finally arrive, I will return to the team."

Renard, a 142-cap veteran, lost the captaincy under Diacre in 2017 but was restored to the leadership in 2021.

Star midfielder Amandine Henry was controversially excluded from last year's Euro 2022 squad, with record scorer Eugenie Le Sommer also missing out.

It remains to be seen whether the three who took their stance on Friday will be followed by others.

The Women's World Cup runs from July 20 to August 20.

Norway international Ada Hegerberg, Renard's team-mate at Lyon, voiced her support, having famously spent a self-imposed five-year exile from the national side in protest over a perceived lack of support for women's football in her homeland.

Hegerberg wrote on Twitter: "How long will we have to go through these lengths for us to be respected? I'm with you, Wendie, and with everybody else going through the same processes. Time to act."

A brief statement from the French Football Federation addressed the matter on Friday, with the escalating crisis set to be addressed at an executive committee meeting on Tuesday.

"The FFF has taken note of the statements of Wendie Renard, Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto," it read. "Its executive committee, meeting on February 28, will take up the issue at that time.

"The FFF would like to serve a reminder that no individual is bigger than the team."