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Zidane ‘not qualified’ to be Real Madrid coach

France legend Zinedine Zidane was on Monday sanctioned as Real Madrid's reserve team coach for failing to have the required coaching badge, the Spanish champions announced.

Zidane 'not qualified' to be Real Madrid coach
Former French football star and new coach of Real Madrid Castilla Zinedine Zidane reacts during the Spanish League B football match Real Madrid Castilla vs Atletico de Madrid in August. Photo: Pedro A

Spanish sports daily Marca reported that the 1998 World Cup hero had picked up a three-month suspension.

Zidane — who had been linked with the head coach role at Ligue 1 side Bordeaux in the close season — has fallen foul of the Spanish Football Federation for taking charge of Real's reserve side Castilla without the necessary qualifications.

The reserve team's assistant coach Santiago Sanchez was also punished.  

Real issued a statement declaring their "absolute disagreement" with the decision.

They pointed out that Zidane "has been authorized by the French Football Federation to work as a head coach in the category Real Madrid Castilla currently find themselves in".

The statement concluded: "Real Madrid will pursue every available legal avenue so that this decision is overturned."

Zidane was elevated to reserve team coach at the beginning of this season following a single campaign as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant which saw Real win a tenth European Cup in May.

Spanish coaching school, the Cenafe, has submitted a complaint to the Spanish Federation against Real, claiming they are using assistant Sanchez's name on the teamsheet to bypass the regulations.

The case has sparked controversy in Spain with national team coach Vicente del Bosque telling Cope radio station that "everyone should have a coaching badge".

Rayo Vallecano coach Paco Jemez used tougher language, describing Real's actions as "shameful".

However, both Ancelotti and Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff have spoken out in support of Zidane.

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SPORT

French government: All athletes must be vaccinated to compete in France

All athletes and sports professionals who wish to compete in France will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19, government sources told AFP on Monday.

Unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic
Unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic. Photo: Oscar del Polzo/AFP

The French parliament has just given the go-ahead for the health pass to be converted into a vaccine pass, which means that anyone wishing to enter leisure and cultural venues – including sports grounds and stadiums – will have to be vaccinated.

This goes for the crowd, but also professional sports players and staff. The government has indicated that exemptions will not be made athletes who are based outside France.

The ministry said a new vaccine pass, “applies to everyone, to volunteers and to elite sportspeople, including those coming from abroad, until further notice.”

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said last week that certain events like the French Open could have a special exemption, when asked whether Novak Djokovic could play in the tournament, but this appears now to not be the case.

Questions had been asked about whether the unvaccinated Djokivic – recently deported from Australia – would be able to play in the French Open in May, but the ruling would affect all visiting sports professionals, including rugby teams from England, Ireland and Italy who are due to play in France during the Six Nations tournament in February and March.

Until now a health pass has been sufficient to enter sports grounds, which means unvaccinated players and fans were able to use a negative Covid test.

However once the vaccine pass enters into effect – scheduled to be later this week – only proof of vaccination will be affected.

French domestic sports teams were given the choice of either making sure that all their players and staff were fully vaccinated or playing behind closed doors.

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