Sports policy: French football association boss leaves posts on hold for the time being

sports policy
The head of the French football association is on hold for the time being

Noël Le Graët is resigning from his post as FFF President for the time being.  Photo: Jeremy Lempin/EPA/dpa

Noël Le Graët is resigning from his post as FFF President for the time being. photo

© Jeremy Lempin/EPA/dpa

The pressure on France’s football association boss has recently increased enormously. Statements about ex-world champion Zidane brought him prominent criticism. Now he is retiring – but only for the time being.

The criticized President of the French Football Association Noël Le Graët is retiring from his post for the time being. The FFF announced that he had decided this with the approval of the board of directors.

Le Graët wants to vacate his post until the publication of a report on abuses within the association. Channel France Info reported that the report is expected by the end of January.

An investigation initiated by the Ministry of Sport against the association and Le Graët is currently under way due to allegations of sexual harassment. According to a report in So Foot magazine last September, Le Graët SMS sent to employees with sexual innuendos.

Managing director Hardouin also temporarily suspended

The board also decided FFF– Temporarily suspend CEO Florence Hardouin. The previous vice president of the association, Philippe Diallo, is to fill the two posts on an interim basis. The newspaper “Le Parisien” reported that Le Graët’s resignation was not discussed.

Most recently, the head of the association was through further allegations of sexual harassment and statements about the former world champion Zinedine Zidane further under pressure. According to “Parisien”, Le Graët apologized to the board for his words and denied the allegations.

Much criticism after statements about Zidane

On Sunday, Le Graët was asked by the broadcaster RMC Sport about a possible engagement of the former world and European champion as national coach of Brazil. “He can go wherever he wants,” Le Graët said succinctly, among other things. He doesn’t care at all. And if Zidane had tried to call him, he wouldn’t even have answered. Le Graët had previously extended the contract with national coach Didier Deschamps. Zidane had been traded as a possible successor to Deschamps in the event of a split.

The statements, which were considered disrespectful, brought Le Graët a lot of criticism. France’s superstar Kylian Mbappé wrote on Twitter: “You don’t disregard a legend like that.” France’s Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said: “The President (Emmanuel Macron), like the French, is really disappointed and hurt when such statements are made about such legends of French and world sport.” Le Graët admitted his words were awkward and said he wanted to apologize to Zidane.

Le Graët is currently running for another four-year term on the FIFA Council. He is challenged by Portuguese FA boss Fernando Gomes. The election will take place on April 5 at the Congress of the European Football Union UEFA in Lisbon.


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