Noël Le Graët resigns from the presidency of the FFF after a chaotic end to his reign

In the light of his extended CV and his record of service in the mysteries of French football, Noël Le Graët would certainly have preferred to leave the scene otherwise. In a vice, at the end of a politico-judicial saga of several months, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), 81, resolved to announce his resignation, Tuesday February 28, during a meeting at the top of the “3F” executive committee.

This abdication seemed inevitable. It comes fifteen days after the presentation to the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, of a damning audit report by the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research (IGESR). The conclusions of the inspectors were without appeal: “NLG” no longer “the legitimacy necessary to administer and represent” French soccer. In question: a very centralized exercise of power”, “excessive consumption of alcohol”, “media slippages”, and “inappropriate behavior towards women” et “the failures of the governance of the FFF”.

Coupled with the allegations of the director general, Florence Hardouin, against her hierarchical superior, the opening by the Paris prosecutor’s office, on February 16, of a preliminary investigation against Mr. Le Graët for “moral and sexual harassment” following a report from the IGESR constituted a turning point.

Also read the decryption: Article reserved for our subscribers Between administrative inspection and judicial investigation, Noël Le Graët surrounded by business

Within the executive committee of the FFF, many elected officials felt that the patriarch, by clinging to the helm despite the tornado and practicing “scorched earth policy”risked “to ransack and trample all that he has built”. If this sulphurous end of reign tarnished the “work” of Breton, the Le Graët presidency will have coincided with a long series of undeniable sporting and economic successes.

Strong entrepreneur and paternalistic manager

Even the IGESR recognized this in its report: for the microcosm of the round ball, it “remains the man who saved the federation and knew how to modernize it” after the tragicomic episode of the Knysna bus strike, during the 2010 South African World Cup, and the explosive affair of the spring 2011 quotas.

“Mr. Le Graët was clearly, for years, a good president: he made things happen, particularly in terms of financial recovery, the development of women’s [le nombre de licenciées a explosé et passé la barre des 200 000] »admitted, in a bittersweet tone, Mme Oudéa-Castéra, February 15, at the end of his long showdown with the octogenarian.

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