Toulouse sack manager Alain Casanova, promote Dominique Arribage

Toulouse have parted company with coach Alain Casanova.

Le Tefece lie 18th in Ligue 1 with 29 points, three adrift of Evian and safety with nine games remaining.

Club president Olivier Sadran said at a news conference screened live on the club's official website: "Alain is no longer the coach of Toulouse Football Club.

"It was a very difficult decision but it has been a hard period for the club and we are in a very delicate position.''

Casanova had been the longest-serving coach in Ligue 1, having taken charge of the club in 2008.

He will be replaced by Dominique Arribage, a member of the club's recruitment team, who will be assisted by reserve team coach Michael Debeve and goalkeeping coach Teddy Richert, who are all former Toulouse players.

Casanova too played for Toulouse, as a goalkeeper between 1992 and 1995, before working as a goalkeeping coach and then assistant coach with the club.

He succeeded Elie Baup as head coach seven years ago and in that time has helped them twice qualify for the Europa League as well as reaching semi-finals in both the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue.

His comments following Saturday's 1-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Lens gave no hint of his impending departure as he vowed to turn things around.

"We are in big difficulty, for sure," he told the club's website. "We have not managed to break this negative spiral. There are nine matches left, I think there is still hope. There are several teams three points away, five points. It will be hard but I saw a team that gave everything to play how they needed to against that team and were not rewarded. It's difficult but we will not give up."

The result, though, was the catalyst for crisis talks which culminated in Casanova's departure.

Sadran continued: "It was a complicated change, not for the club but for me because I have had a friendship with Alain Casanova since 2001 that goes beyond football. It is a decision we took together on Sunday morning after a match which was not a high point of world football. I took this decision calmly and with conviction."

He backed Arribage to keep Toulouse in the top flight this season and beyond, labelling his appointment "a mission of indeterminate duration."

He said: "What is important for us is that we have the strong conviction that our future is in Ligue 1, in a long cycle. We are in a boat which is, in my opinion, unsinkable. Things can turn around at any moment, that is the beauty of sport. We will not spend our time looking for our weaknesses, we will put the emphasis on our strengths.

Arribage, seated alongside Sadran, said: "I learnt the news yesterday. It has been a difficult situation because I have known Alain Casanova for more than 20 years. I want to pay tribute to him for the work he has done, for his loyalty and fidelity to the club."

Arribage represented Toulouse for 10 of his 16 years as a professional, in two spells.

Debeve played for the club from 1998 to 2004, with Richert starting his career there and, after a 12-year spell at Sochaux, studied for his coaching qualifications before returning to join Casanova's coaching staff.

Arribage said: "The urgent thing is we must save the club. I arrive with a lot of enthusiasm and desire. We have enough experience between the three of us to address any defects. I have a concept and a vision of how to play. There will have to be another way of working, we will have to put that in place as quickly as possible. The players can do a lot better. We will try to get the best out of them and enable them to perform. That is the key to our future success."

Following his departure, Casanova told L'Equipe: "My personal situation is not important, it is the club which counts above all today.

"If there is a final 'electroshock' to be found, it is this: giving other people at the club like 'Domi' Arribage the chance to bring a different voice, give the players more confidence and put everything on the line to save the club we all love.

"If that can be the 'click' that shakes things up and allows TFC to survive, that is all I want.

"After so many years, it's not easy but it is the law of top-level sport. The most important thing is the salvation of TFC.

"I wish the best to TFC, to the players. They are in difficulty but they have the quality to get themselves out of it."