Europe 1 with AFP 4:58 p.m., January 11, 2023

The president of the French Football Federation Noël Le Graët has been withdrawn from his duties, and it is Philippe Diallo who has been chosen to take over the interim function.

This actor in the shadows and connoisseur of the mysteries of football for three decades and described by some as one of the "most influential" people in French football.

Philippe Diallo, propelled to the interim head of the French Football Federation (FFF) after the withdrawal of Noël Le Graët, is a shadow actor but a connoisseur of the mysteries of football for three decades.

Unknown to the general public, Philippe Diallo, 59, led for nearly 30 years (from 1992 to 2021) the Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCPF), the employers' union of professional clubs, and notably played an important role in player transfer reforms, with political skill.


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This native of Saint-Nazaire, son of a Senegalese boxing champion, joined the "3F" by joining the list of Noël Le Graët during the re-election of the Breton leader in March 2021. General treasurer within the executive committee (Comex) of the federation, he climbed the organizational chart by becoming deputy vice-president in December 2021, replacing Brigitte Henriques, elected head of the National Olympic Sports Committee (CNOSF).

A "very nice impression" when he was treasurer

"Diallo is a brilliant guy, close to professional football, he made a very good impression at the federal assemblies when he was treasurer," said a source close to the FFF.

This technocrat with a degree in public law and business law also has international experience as a single judge in the FIFA dispute resolution chamber since 2003. Since 2013, he has also been at the head of the Social Council of the Sports Movement ( Cosmos), an employers' organization bringing together several thousand structures (clubs, leagues, event organizers, etc.).

A sign of his influence behind the scenes, the name of Philippe Diallo came up several times in the press as a possible president of the Professional Football League (LFP), notably in 2016 when electing the successor to Frédéric Thiriez.

Without this discreet man, who does not run the press, never officially applying.

"He is very politically fine", greets a source close to the sports movement who recognizes "an unparalleled knowledge of the files" and "a very fair understanding of the political workings".

While emphasizing "his extreme discretion, even his solitary character, which can be perceived as a defect".

One of the "most powerful and influential" people

For Frédéric Jaillant, former journalist and communication officer for the LFP under the Thiriez presidency, Philippe Diallo is "one of the least known personalities in French football but undoubtedly one of the most powerful and influential. He is both pragmatic and political".

"He will be an anti-Le Graët in communication, he adds. His thing is not the big sentences that will divide the world of football. He will express himself little and, when he does, it will be when he has something to say."


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In recent months, the deputy vice-president had endeavored to clear up the many controversies surrounding the federation, announcing for example a reflection to create a compensation fund for victims of accidents at work on the construction sites of the World Cup in Qatar.

Now at the head of the federation – at least – until the next executive committee, Diallo will have the mission of stabilizing a weakened body.

"He has no relay, he will not be able to stay, he will just do the interim", however judges another source close to the FFF.

On the contrary, Frédéric Jaillant describes a man "ambitious by his training and his background", who will be difficult to dislodge.

"Once he is in office, we will see that it is 'the right man at the right place' (the right person in the right place, editor's note), it will be obvious to everyone", according to him.