French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned yesterday a decision by the French Professional Soccer League (LFP) not to allow Guy Roux to be named Racing Lens coach because he is too old.

The 68-year-old Roux, who was appointed by Lens earlier this month, cannot act as head coach because he is over the age limit of 65, the LFP ruled.

"He (Sarkozy) finds this decision regrettable," Sarkozy's spokesman told reporters.

"The President believes it is the rule that is old, not Guy Roux," he added.

Roux had earlier said he was determined to fight the LFP ruling.

"The legal commission (of the LFP) would not homologate my coaching contract because it violates one of its clauses which is discriminating and against the French and European laws," Roux said.

"I knew this would happen. The LFP charter is being implemented but I think it is illegal."

French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde immediately joined the debate, telling France Info: "It moves me. I think it's stupid to tell someone good and competent you can't work because you're too old.

"I think these age limits... we should think about eliminating them. If Guy Roux is good, and I think he is a great coach, he must be able to coach."

Roux spent 24 years as head coach of Auxerre during a career that in all spanned 53 years.

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