Gerrard Houllier reaffirmed his commitment to Aston Villa after clarifying stories emerging from France that he had asked the French Football Federation to keep his old job open for a year, reports the Birmingham Mail. Houllier's former boss, FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy, suggested that the ex-technical director's request was regarded as "impudent".
"Our federal council has rejected Gerard Houllier's request for sabbatical leave," said Duchaussoy.
"If they refuse it's difficult for him to do anything but resign. Some council members thought his request ¬particularly impudent. -Although he made it within the context of employment laws, it surprised me."
But the Villa boss insists he had no intention of keeping his previous position open as a safety net in case his spell at Villa Park was unsuccessful.
"When you resign you need to serve three months' notice and one way of turning that round is to ask for a sabbatical," said Houllier.
"If you ask for a sabbatical they have to say yes and you are free immediately. I did it for the club. It was just a technical thing."