The secretary general of the French Olympic Committee ousted two years from the Games – Liberation

At the end of an animated extraordinary council, Brigitte Henriques, the president of the CNOSF succeeded in obtaining the eviction of its secretary general, Didier Séminet. The episode, unprecedented since the creation of the institution, causes a stir internally, and risks leaving traces, two years from the Paris Olympics.

The house that oversees French sport is not accustomed to crises. The French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) has been experiencing one for several months and its epilogue could well leave traces, two years before the Paris Olympics. This Monday, at the end of an extraordinary and animated board of directors, its president Brigitte Henriques separates from her now ex-right arm Didier Séminet, secretary general with whom the current has not passed for months.

The 45 members of the board of directors voted more than 62% for the departure of the former president of the baseball federation, according to these sources. The choice of his replacement will have to be recorded during a next session, the date of which has not yet been determined, specifies a source close to the management of the CNOSF. Didier Séminet will nevertheless continue the mandate entrusted to him by the General Assembly, by continuing to sit on the Board of Directors.

The man had been a key figure in the accession of the former vice president of the FFF to the head of the CNOSF, elected with 57.8% of the vote in June 2021. Even before it was acted, this divorce caused unprecedented turbulence in the institution: never in the history of the CNOSF had a secretary general been dismissed during his term of office. “It is a disaster for the image of unity that we are supposed to set as an example to the sports movement”deplores a federation president. “It’s deplorable, and very bad for our image less than two years from the Olympics”regrets another.

“I have never seen that”

So much so that Guy Drut, former sports minister under Jacques Chirac, one of the four French members of the IOC, stepped up to the plate last week. The former Olympic champion in the 110m hurdles evokes a situation «grave» et “unpublished”. Guy Drut sent a missive signed by the three other French members of the IOC (Jean-Christophe Rolland, David Lappartient and Martin Fourcade) and addressed to Brigitte Henriques, to ask to be able to take part in Monday’s crucial vote by videoconference.

“I have been at the CNOSF for 26 years, I have never seen this. I have always done what I could to attend our various meetings, so I have been able to observe that, regularly, it could happen that disagreements arise between the President and his secretary general, but they have always had the intelligence to resolve their problem among themselves and thus preserve the general interest and the unity of our institution. […] It’s dramatic”he regrets in the letter.

The reasons which led Brigitte Henriques to request the departure of Didier Séminet are not yet known in detail. “We don’t even know what the Secretary General is accused of”is surprised Guy Drut. […] It’s not complicated: we don’t know anything. Neither me nor the other three French members of the IOC (Martin Fourcade, David Lappartient, Jean-Christophe Rolland) were not warned”.

“Irreconcilable difference”

“There is a schism, the two no longer get along. There is an irreconcilable difference in the way of doing things”summarizes a source close to the management of the CNOSF. “The atmosphere between them is icy, it shows”assures another president.

The president officially addressed the question during an extended executive office at the end of August, where the motion on the departure of its secretary general was recorded. “Didier Séminet has support. Even if it is divisive, not sure that this exit will be without brilliance.then predicted one of the members of the CNOSF.

If the information had filtered through the ranks of the CNOSF, it was not made public until September 1 when the sports movement returned. The president of the judo federation, Stéphane Nomis put his feet in the dish, questioning the president on this future split which did not appear on the convocation of the CA on Monday, while wondering about the social climate within the CNOSF.

“We could have done without the current media attention”

Because this episode is accompanied by several departures from the institution for almost a year. Some volunteers, some don’t. “There have been less than five unwanted departures, the rest are just natural rotations”ensures a close to the direction.

“Brigitte is doing a good job, she is trying to change a house that really needs it”tempers another high-ranking supporter in the Olympic mysteries. “What is amazing is how big this is. It’s quite normal and logical, when a duo formed between a president and a secretary general no longer works, things change. It happens in other organizations. That says a lot about the modernity of the institution.pings that same source.

In an attempt to appease the climate which has been singularly tense since the start of the school year, Brigitte Henriques split a letter on July 8 addressed to the presidents of federations and members of the CNOSF. If it does not clearly mention the reasons for which it comes to this, it evokes a proposal for dismissal “necessary for the smooth running of our institution, is the result of a long and difficult reflection”she wrote. “Above all, it is part of the continuity of the project that I have been carrying out since the beginning of my mandate as president: to serve the success of French sport as well as possible, by your side”she continues. “Preserving the reputation of the sports movement, to which you are attached, is also at the heart of my concerns. We could have dispensed with the current media attention – which is not my doing – and circumscribe the debate within our association., insists the leader again. Not really fitting with its promise of transparency formulated at the time of its accession at the top of the sports movement.


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