Association boss Le Graet resigns
NAfter his polemical statements about France’s football icon Zinedine Zidane Association President Noel Le Graet has resigned. This was announced by the national association FFF after a hearing of the extraordinary executive committee on Wednesday in Paris.
Le Graet has “decided, in agreement with the FFF Executive Committee, to step down from his role as President pending the completion of the review conducted by the Ministry of Sport,” the association said in a statement. Government spokesman Olivier Veran had previously criticized the 81-year-old.
The French Football Federation “deserves a president who is up to the task,” Veran said on Wednesday. Not only the derogatory comments about Zidane are problematic. “There are other things that come along. The camel’s back is overflowing,” says Veran. The FFF needs “a president who will make it possible to give French football a good image around the world.”
In a radio interview last Sunday, France’s top football official made disparaging remarks about Zidane and his possible future as national coach of the World Cup runners-up. Le Graet apologized on Monday for the comments for which he was criticized by superstar Kylian Mbappe, but also by Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera.
Oudea-Castera took the decision to resign on Wednesday afternoon positively. She “welcomes the decision” of the FFF to “meet and act immediately,” she quoted the AFP news agency as saying. The resignation was “a necessary step given the already known elements of his position”.
Le Graet has been FFF President since 2011. His third and last full term was not supposed to end until December 2024. Allegations of sexual harassment, which are the subject of an investigation initiated by the sports minister, made Le Graet’s situation even more difficult.