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Top France players will not play in World Cup under ‘current system’

France captain Wendie Renard says she will not play in the World Cup under the national team's "current system." (Andrew Kearns/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Three of the biggest stars on the France women’s national team are stepping away from international duties ahead of this summer’s World Cup.

France captain Wendie Renard, Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani all cited issues within the national team in their decisions, which they announced Friday via social media.

Renard wrote in her statement that she “can no longer support the current system, which is far from the requirements of the highest level,” so she would “not be playing in this World Cup in such conditions.” The 32-year-old defender has played for the national team since 2011.

Katoto and Diani pointed to issues with Les Bleues management, though they did not cite coach Corinne Diacre by name. Both forwards called for “necessary changes” as a prerequisite for their return to the team.

The World Cup is set to kick off on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

France won the title at the round-robin Tournoi de France earlier this week, beating Denmark 1-0 and Uruguay 5-1 and playing to a 0-0 draw against Norway. Renard started all three of the matches, Diani two of them. Katoto is recovering from an ACL tear she sustained last July.

“My face can hide the pain, but my heart hurts and I don’t want to hurt anymore,” Renard wrote in her statement. “Thank you for your support and respect for my decision.”