Buffard To Depart USVO For Russia After Season


Laurent Buffard will quit as coach of French giants USVO Valenciennes at the end of this season to take over at UMMC Ekaterinburg.

The 43-year-old, who has signed a two-year contract with UMMC, will take his assistant Jacky Moreau with him to Russia.

Buffard joined USVO in the middle of the 1998-99 season, and the club have had tremendous success under his stewardship.

They have won the EuroLeague twice, in 2002 and 2004, and have reached the final of the same competition on two other occasions (in 2001 and 2003).

Domestically, USVO have dominated the French championship under Buffard, winning five successive league titles from 2001 to 2005, and also claiming the Coupe de France four years on the trot, from 2001 to 2004.

They are going well in the Ligue Feminine this season, and are top of the standings with an 18-3 record, a point clear of Bourges and Villeneuve d'Ascq.

However, they were dumped out of this season's EuroLeague Women by CSKA Samara in the Eighth-Final Play-Offs.

Buffard is desperate to end his spell at USVO on a high note, telling the club's website, "We want to finish the season by winning all the competitions (Ligue Feminine, Coupe de France and Tournoi de la Federation) that the club are still involved in."

Buffard, who began his coaching career at Sceaux before moving to Cholet then Toulouse, will take charge of a UMMC side that has struggled, by their high standards, in the Russian women's Superleague this season.

They are fourth in the table, having lost five of their 14 games.

They were also dumped out of EuroLeague Women in the Eighth-Final Play-Offs, losing their best-of-three series against MKB Euroleasing 2-1.

UMMC won the EuroLeague in 2003.

USVO and Buffard will hold a press conference at 5pm local time in Valenciennes.

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