EX-ARSENAL and Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has quit as sporting director of French fourth-tier club Hyeres after three months – because coronavirus has held up their ambitious project.
Businessman Mourad Boudjellal appointed Anelka on February 3, a day after taking over Hyeres following failed buyout bids for Ligue 1 giants Marseille and fourth-level Sporting Club Toulon.
But football chiefs halted Championnat National 2 – France’s fourth tier – on April 23 amid a new Covid-19 wave.
And Anelka told footmercato.net: “I came to this project thinking that the virus was conquered and that amateur football was going to resume.
“After three months at the club the observation is obvious. The sports project is no longer the same!
“Amateur football is at a standstill and the restrictions are even more severe.”
The 69-cap former France ace, whose many clubs as a player included Real Madrid, Bolton and West Brom, believes Hyeres’ plans will suffer due to “financial difficulties” caused by the lockdown and not playing.
He added: “I do not see any short and medium-term projection on amateur football.
“My experience and expertise are of no use at the moment. I therefore prefer to devote my time to my other activities.
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“I thank the president for giving me this opportunity.
“I discovered a club, this magnificent region and its friendly inhabitants.
“I wish good luck to this project and to all. Saddened to leave the Var club, Nicolas Anelka keeps only good memories.”