French second division side Clermont Foot have named Helena Costa as their new coach.The 39-year-old will become the first female to manage in the top two divisions of a major European league.
Costa is currently in charge of the Iran women’s team and has previously coached the women’s sides of Qatar and Benfica. She has also scouted for Scottish champions Celtic.
A Clermont statement read: ‘Helena Costa will coach Clermont Foot next season.It should help the club enter a new era.Costa has come through the ranks of Benfica’s coaching staff, although she has also managed the women’s teams of Qatar, Iran and Odivelas (a Portuguese second division women’s side).In addition she worked as a scout for Celtic. Olivier Chavanon – who has great experience and knowledge of the club – will join her as a sporting director.’
Clermont are 14th in Ligue 2 with two matches to go.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, France had Nelly Viennot as the first woman to be assistant referee in an elite match. Viennot also served as assistant referee in Champions League games.
In Germany, referee Bibiana Steinhaus officiates in second division games. She is the first woman referee in the second Bundesliga and the first to have been a referee in the German Cup.
In Spain, Maria Jose Claramunt is the director of the national team, responsible more for marketing than sporting issues