France captain Wendie Renard has announced she will not play at this summer’s Women’s World Cup, warning “the current system is far from what is required”.
After her announcement, team-mates Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani also announced they were pausing their respective international careers.
It follows Canada threatening to strike ahead of the current SheBelieves Cup, eventually playing the tournament “under protest” at funding cuts and wearing purple T-shirts with the slogan “Enough is Enough” for pre-match photos.
Renard wrote on Twitter: “I have played 142 times in the blue, white and red jersey with passion, respect, engagement and professionalism. I love France more than anything.
“I am not perfect, far from it, but I can no longer support the current system which is far from what is required at the highest level.
“This is a sad day but necessary to preserve my mental health.
“It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of my decision to take a step back from the France team. I cannot, unfortunately, play this World Cup under these conditions.
“My face can hide the pain but the heart, it suffers… and I don’t want to suffer any more.
“Thank you for your wishes and for respecting my decision.”
Forward Katoto wrote that “the words of our captain Wendie lead me in turn to talk about the situation in the France team”, adding: “I am making the decision to put my international career on hold until the necessary changes are implemented.”
Diani also announced she would “suspend” her international career, adding: “If the necessary profound changes are finally made, I will return to the service of the Tricolore jersey.”
A statement on the French Football Federation’s website read: “The FFF has taken note of the statements of Wendie Renard, Kadidiatou Diani and Marie-Antoinette Katoto. Its executive committee, which met on February 28, will take up the issue on this occasion.
“The FFF would like to remind you that no individual is above the French team institution.”