The President of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët, persists and signs. Tuesday, September 10, on France Info, he said he was against the stoppage of Ligue 1 matches because of homophobic songs in the stadiums. A pavement in the pond, a few hours from the match France-Andorra, in qualifying for Euro-2020.
Since the beginning of the season, several meetings have been briefly interrupted in the first and second French divisions to stop homophobic songs or offensive banners. A firmness demanded and warmly welcomed by Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu, her colleague in charge of the fight against discrimination, Marlene Schiappa, and associations fighting against homophobia.
Christmas Le Graët had already detonated Thursday, estimating in the columns of the regional daily Ouest-France "that we stopped too many matches" for homophobic events in the stadiums.
Differentiation between "homophobia and racism is wrong"
This time, it is on the radio France Info that the president of the FFF, 77 years, hit the nail on Tuesday morning: "The stopping of the matches does not interest me.It is a mistake. a match for racist cries, I would stop a match for a fight, incidents, if there is a danger in the stands, "continued Le Graët, ensuring that racism in the stadiums and homophobia in the stands , "it's not the same thing" and calling clubs to "act" through their security services.
"The position taken by Noël Le Graët by differentiating between homophobia and racism is wrong," reacted in the wake of the Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu. She invited him "to take his share of responsibility in the fight against all dicriminations in general". "This news denotes the lack of preparation on this subject," said the minister.
The president of the FFF "hopes" for his part that his new instructions will be taken into account on the next day of the championship. The Technical Direction of the Arbitration (DTA), which manages the referees of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, depends on the FFF. On the side of the body of arbitration, "the message (of President Le Graët) was heard," told AFP a source close to the referees, saying "pending a directive that will certainly be transmitted" in view of the next championship weekend.
Anger of associations
This new release of the president of the federation has sparked strong reactions, and even anger among associations that fight against homophobia. The Rouge Direct collective has thus launched on Twitter a "call for the resignation" of Noël Le Graët ", whose mandate ends in 2020, after the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The president of the French federation has yet to say whether he wants to represent or not, but Dominique Sopo, president of the association SOS Racism already invites "to retire".
"When you hear a French football official explain that we should no longer suspend games in case of homophobic behavior, it looks like we came back in the last century." : @d_sopo, president of @SOS_Racisme. To watch in @YahooSportEN https://t.co/0wEJh4VURoSOS Racism (@SOS_Racism) September 10, 2019
Like last week, after the first release of Christmas Le Graët, the association PanamBoyz & Girlz United, which denounces homophobia in football and works on the subject with the Professional Football League (LFP), also expressed its consternation. "Stop a match for racist cries, yes!" For homophobic songs, no! When the president of the FFF makes a foul selection between discriminated.A totally outrageous speech.What a shame! ", The association writes on Twitter.
Reacting to AFP on Christmas Le Graet, the President of Olympique Lyonnais Jean-Michel Aulas was more nuanced, pleading for a use "in moderation" of the stoppage of matches, in the sidelines. General Assembly of the European Club Association (ECA) in Geneva.