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Portugal's Helena Costa speaks during a press conference on June 24, 2014 in Clermont-Ferrand, central France.
Jean-Philippe Ksiazek—AFP/Getty Images

The first female coach of a professional team in the top two divisions of any European league has resigned after only a few hours in charge, the Guardian reports.

Helena Costa had been appointed manager of French club Clermont Foot 63, a men’s squad, in May and was expected to oversee her first training session on Tuesday. She is reportedly scheduled to explain her choice at a press conference.

The team claimed in a brief statement that Costa had chosen “not to honor her engagement” and club owner Claude Michy called her decision “sudden and surprising.” Earlier reports said that Costa had neither met with the players, nor been involved in their physical tests before her departure.

There was an expectation that Costa would improve the position of women in professional soccer. When she was offered the job, Costa told the New York Times, “I opened a door today and more women will walk through on my back. That’s what I hope.”

Costa led the woman’s national teams of Qatar and Iran prior to her appointment with the second-tier French team. She had also managed a boys’ team in Portugal, her native country, and coached a regional men’s team there.


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