Noel Le Graet: French Football Federation President Resigns After Allegations of Harassment and Conduct Audit | football news

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet has resigned amid accusations of sexual misconduct and a scathing audit commissioned by the country’s sports ministry.

Le Graet, head of the FFF since 2011, backed out amid a legal investigation into alleged sexual and bullying harassment.

Earlier this month, the audit concluded that Le Graet, 81, no longer had “the necessary legitimacy” to manage and represent the sport in France and “highlighted Le Graet’s inappropriate behavior towards women”. Earlier this year, Le Graet denied allegations of sexual misconduct.

Le Graet has been in charge of the FFF since 2011

Le Graet, whose term ends in 2024, has also been criticized for extending men’s coach Didier Deschamps’ contract until 2026 and for disparaging comments directed at French playmaker Zinedine Zidane.

France women’s coach Corinne Diacre is also under pressure. Team captain Wendie Renard said last week that she would not play in this year’s Women’s World Cup and according to a French media report RMC sportthe defender said she will not play for the national team while Diacre remains in charge.

Fellow internationals Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani also said they are stepping back from the national team.

Le Graet’s current vice president, Philippe Diallo, now becomes interim president until June 10, when the next FFF assembly takes place.

Le Graet's current vice-president Philippe Diallo now becomes interim president of the FFF until June 10
Le Graet’s current vice-president Philippe Diallo now becomes interim president of the FFF until June 10

A statement from the federation on Tuesday said: “Regarding the audit… the FFF notes that this report does not mention any systemic failure nor any breach of its duty to govern.

“The FFF, however, notes that this report is based less on objective facts than on assessments which, in some cases, have led to an exaggerated disparagement of the body.

“The FFF also regrets the lack of a true governance procedure and the failure to consider the numerous comments made at the level of its governance, the fight against sexist and sexual violence, its numbers and the examples given.

“The FFF therefore wishes to reaffirm its strong commitment against sexual and gender-based violence as part of its license protection policy. This commitment was and remains a priority.

“The FFF will also continue to work to reform its governance…this work had already been carried out even before the start of the audit. However, the FFF is committed to adhere to all useful recommendations from this audit.”

What Le Graet said about Zidane

Zidane has been out of work since May 2021
Zidane has been out of work since May 2021

Zidane was heavily linked as a potential successor to current France coach Deschamps before the latter signed a contract extension.

However, earlier in the year, Le Graet said RMC he didn’t answer a call from one of France’s most decorated players and added, “I don’t give a shit, he can go wherever he wants.”

Le Graet said Zidane had a lot of support but had no chance of replacing Deschamps.

“Who can seriously criticize Deschamps?” he said. “Nobody. He (Zidane) does what he wants; it’s none of my business. I never met him, we never thought of parting with Didier. He can go wherever he wants, to a club… If Zidane tried to get in touch with me ? Hell no, I wouldn’t even answer the phone.”

French football is at the center of a media storm
L’Equipe described Le Graet’s comments about Zinedine Zidane as “unacceptable”

Le Graet’s attitude towards Zidane has gone down badly. Kylian Mbappé tweeted his support for the “legend”, while the head of the FFF ethics committee, Patrick Anton, called for the octogenarian’s resignation. The committee also removed general manager Florence Hardouin.

France’s sports minister, Amelie Oudea-Castera, was one of many politicians who reacted to Le Graet’s comments.

“Even more out-of-reach comments and on top of that a shameful lack of respect, which hurts us all, towards a legend of football and sport,” she wrote on Twitter, also apologizing.

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