Football: FFF hoping for quick resolution to Domenech case

PARIS, July 13, 2011 (AFP) - The French Football Federation (FFF) said Wednesday it hoped to avoid going to an employment tribunal next year to settle financial claims by ex-coach Raymond Domenech.

FFF president Noel Le Graet expressed his hope that a "definitive solution" would be found in early August.

Domenech, sacked for misconduct after France's dismal display at last year's World Cup in South Africa, is seeking 2.9 million euros in compensation.

His former employers at the FFF, meanwhile, are seeking to reclaim World Cup bonuses that Domenech refuses to return.

A conciliation hearing in April reached no conclusions and the case between the two parties was postponed until January 13, 2012.

"I met him (Domenech)," Le Graet said Wednesday. "I am federation president and he (Domenech) must realise that he was an FFF employee. I am not ready to satisfy all the lawyers' fantasies (of claims).

"If we can find an agreement, I would prefer the case be closed in the coming days.

"Life is made of hope. I'm very hopeful of finding a definitive solution in early August.

"Did our meeting go well? Even better, he was courteous! But during first meetings, you rarely agree."

Le Graet's desire to negotiate with Domenech is a departure from the no-talks stance of former FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy, whose tenure came to an end in June.

Domenech led France to a runners-up finish at the 2006 World Cup in Germany but the rest of his tenure, which began in 2004, became synonymous with failure.

After a group-stage exit at the 2008 European Championship, France were eliminated at the same stage of last year's World Cup with only a single point and a single goal to their credit.

Their showing in South Africa was overshadowed by a training ground strike by the players, who were protesting after Chelsea forward Nicolas Anelka was excluded from the squad for clashing with Domenech.

The FFF were particularly aggrieved that Domenech read out the players' statement to the media explaining why they had elected to go on strike.

He was also criticised for refusing to shake hands with South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira after France's final group game.

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