English Premiership club Tottenham Hotspur FC have announced that France coach Jacques Santini will be their new manager next season.
The 52-year-old Frenchman will lead his country at UEFA EURO 2004™ but then join the London club when his contract expires at the end of the tournament. France open the defence of their European crown against England in a Group B game on 13 June.
"A few hours ago I committed firmly to Tottenham for next season," Santini confirmed. "It was a proposal initiated by former Danish international Frank Arnesen [Tottenham's sporting director], and was precise and interesting enough to lead to a talk with club chairman Daniel Levy last weekend and then on to an agreement which was signed a few hours ago.
"I would have regarded the possibility of a contract extension with France with pleasure and interest as this squad is serious, engaging, ambitious and talented," the France coach continued. "Circumstances did not allow that and
I don't have any regrets. Of course my decision won't alter the motivation I have to succeed with the French team in EURO 2004™, which has been in our thoughts and the focus of our energies for two years."
Santini took charge of France on 17 July 2002 following the holders' first-round elimination at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the subsequent dismissal of Roger Lemerre. In 23 games under Santini, France have won 19 times and lost only once, to the Czech Republic in February 2003. Santini, who won four Ligue 1 titles with AS Saint-Etienne as a player, previously guided Olympique Lyonnais to a first-ever league championship in 2002.
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