Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Helena Costa becomes Europe's highest profile female football manager

169951268.jpg

Helena Costa has become Europe's highest profile female football manager of a men's team, after being named head coach of Clermont Foot football club in France.

The 36-year-old coach was appointed by the second-tier club today and is the first woman to head up a French professional team.

"Clermont Foot 63 has chosen Helena Costa to be our new coach," read the club's statement.

"This appointment will allow Clermont Foot 63 to begin a new era, relying on a group of 17 players currently under contract, which will be added young players from the club."

Helena Costa previously coached the Iran women's football team

Costa previously coached for the Iran women's team, a position she took up in 2012. She spent three years scouting for Celtic in Portugal and Spain between 2008 and 2011.

She also also coached Benfica's male youth teams and the Qatar women's side and is expected to take up her position at Clermont Foot at the end of the season.

"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," a spokesperson for Celtic told the BBC.

Costa will become the first female coach of a French professional team at Clermont Foot

The news that a woman would be entering the coaching level of second league men's football was greeted with elation in France.

"Bravo Clermont Foot for understanding that giving a place to women is the future of professional football," Najat Belkacem, France's women's minister, tweeted.

Veronique Soulier, president of Clermont Foot's supporters' club, said: "The boys in the team can be difficult to manage. They can be quite sensitive, that is what the other coaches have told us. With a woman in charge, maybe they will be less demanding."

"I cannot wait to return next season to be a part of it," said Clermont Foot defender Anthony Lippini. "I'm really curious. It will be a unique experience to be the first professional football team to be managed by a woman France. It is good. It creates a buzz."

Before this, the highest-profile appointment of a woman as coach of a men's team in Europe was that of Carolina Morace, who took charge of Italian Serie C1 team Viterbese for two matches in 1999. Around the same time, France had Nelly Viennot as the first woman to be assistant referee in an elite match.

In Spain, Maria Jose Claramunt is the director of the national team, but it is more a marketing than a sporting position.

Related

rexfeatures-3413235a.jpg

Malala Yousafzai on abducted Nigerian school girls: "If we forget these girls, it's like we are forgetting our own sisters"

beauty-tips-hero.jpg

Infographic of beauty tips from history

bksfbk.jpg

Amazon's 100 books to read in a lifetime

main.jpg

Michelle Knight on abductor Ariel Castro: he couldn't break me

monica.jpg

Monica Lewinsky breaks her 10-year silence on the Bill Clinton affair

miserable.jpg

10 things that are scientifically proven to make you unhappy

More

Chris Brown tried to excuse his attack on Rihanna, and it’s not OK

“Violence is a choice he made – and he alone is responsible for it”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Serena Williams on how skin colour affects what people think of her

“I feel like people think I’m mean”

by Amy Swales
17 Aug 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Pink keeping it real to Ellen Degeneres’ sweet anniversary message

by Nicola Colyer
17 Aug 2017

This Hocus Pocus star’s pregnancy announcement is pure 90s perfection

“I smell children…”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Anna Faris on knowing when to call time on an unhappy relationship

“Don’t be afraid to seek your independence”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Why Taylor Swift’s sexual assault verdict is a victory for womankind

The pop star has completely changed the narrative

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton defends Donald Trump from sexual assault allegations

“I think [the women] are just trying to get attention and get fame...”

by Moya Crockett
16 Aug 2017

The personality trait that Mindy Kaling hopes to pass on to her baby

Kaling gets real about motherhood as she confirms her pregnancy

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton describes the emotional fallout of her 2001 sex tape

“I could not leave my house for months”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017

Taylor Swift wins sexual assault case for “anyone who feels silenced”

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017