(Updating with background background)
PARIS, July 12 Guy Roux has won a battle against
the French Professional Soccer League (LFP) who ruled he was too
old at the age of 68 to coach Ligue 1 club Racing Lens.
The LFP said on Thursday its legal committee, which had
rejected Roux's contract with Lens because he was over the age
limit of 65 set by the LFP charter, had been overruled by the
French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF).
"The majority of the members of the executive committee have
accepted the conciliatory proposal of the CNOSF which
recommended the ratification of Guy Roux's contract with Racing
Lens as an exceptional measure," the League said.
The affair attracted the attention of French President
Nicolas Sarkozy who criticised the LFP's ruling last month.
"The President finds this decision regrettable", the
spokesman of the new French head of state told reporters.
"The President believes it is the rule that is old, not Guy
French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde immediately joined
the debate, turning Roux into a symbol of the government policy
of persuading people to work longer.
"I think it's stupid to tell someone good and competent you
can't work because you're too old," she said.
"I think these age limits ... we should think about
eliminating them. If Guy Roux is good, and I think he is a great
coach, he must be able to coach."
Roux spent 24 years as head coach of Auxerre during a career
that in all spanned 53 years with the Burgundy side first as a
player then as an administrator before announcing his retirement
in June 2005 to work as television consultant.
By that time he had transformed the club from a provincial
amateur side into a powerhouse of French soccer and had become
one of the most colourful characters in French soccer.
With him in charge, Auxerre won the French title in 1996,
lifted the French Cup four times and embarked on 14 campaigns in