Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier has asked the French Football Federation to keep his old job open for him.
Houllier, 63, hesitated over two weeks before agreeing a three-year deal at Villa Park on Friday.
But the Sunday Mirror says the ex-Liverpool boss, who has worked for the France Football Federation as technical director, asked to be given a sabbatical year in fear of losing his Villa job.
However Federation chiefs rejected his demand, and Houllier will now be forced to resign his post.
FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy revealed: "Our federal council has rejected Gerard Houllier's request for sabbatical leave. 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."