Fontes fury over coach’s criticism

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Vern COTTER’S future at 
Clermont Auvergne will be clarified on Monday when club officials meet to discuss claims made by the coach in a 
newspaper interview, and 
suggestions that he has offered his resignation.

Cotter was quoted as having criticised several players and management for their part in Heineken Cup and French Championship defeats, particularly in respect of the former competition, in which his side lost the final in Dublin.

Club president Rene Fontes, an admirer of Cotter and the work he has done at Clermont, reacted furiously.

“I am aware of the interview given by Vern Cotter to the press. I am dumbfounded by the views voiced by our coach and extremely disappointed as they are totally at odds with his normal behaviour towards our players and our club,” he said.

“Today, Vern informed me that following his statement, he was offering me his resignation. I have acted on this offer and decided, together with Eric de Cromieres (the incoming president), to call a meeting of the club executives which will take place on June 3, to resolve this situation.”

Cotter, who has denied 
tendering his resignation, was quoted in La Montagne criticising senior players in his squad, particularly stand off Brock James. “I regret having placed my faith in two or three players,” he said, insisting that he had managed the campaign well and had his team ready to challenge for European honours. “My main regret is that for Dublin we worked on selections and game management with our leaders, but these 
leaders failed to turn up.”

Of James, he said, “He is 
responsible on the pitch for game management and we certainly weren’t happy with him against Toulon. Some tough choices will need to be made. We are missing leaders in key matches.”

The article also named a player the club is targeting as a new signing. He added: “Some tough decisions need 
to be taken. It is going to 
become increasingly difficult when I see the signings at other clubs. We are going to have 
to aim high, especially the 
following year (2014/15). It’s up to the people in charge to take responsibility.”

The outcome of Monday’s meeting could be that Cotter is available to take up his Scotland post sooner than planned.