Football: under pressure, Noël Le Graët is dismissed from the presidency of the FFF

The president of the French Football Federation Noël Le Graët in Doha during the World Cup in Qatar on November 19, 2022. AP - Christophe Ena

Text by: Farid Achache Follow

3 mins

The Executive Committee of the French Football Federation, the vast majority of whose members come from the list that Noël Le Graët presented before his last re-election, in March 2021, ended up letting go of the 81-year-old man, who arrived at the FFF in 2011. The Breton was " 


" this Wednesday, January 11.

His cookie-cutter remarks on Zinedine Zidane and the dissemination of a testimony on his sexist behavior are at the origin of this withdrawal.


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 Noël Le Graët is very unhappy

 ,” said the president of Olympique Lyonnais, Jean-Michel Aulas, member of the Comex, to journalists at the end of the meeting.


Noël Le Graët has been withdrawn

, (...)

Philippe Diallo is acting for both functions 

", explained a member of the Comex.

But there is currently no question of resignation.

Diallo's interim must last " 

until the Comex following the publication of the audit report 

" on the functioning of the FFF, commissioned by the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra and expected at the end of January.

For general manager Florence Hardouin, who had execrable relations with Le Graët, the sanction is more severe: she is " 

lay off as a precaution

 ", announced the FFF in a press release.

An audit for his alleged sexist behavior

With his recent controversial statements about Zidane, trouble was piling up for the former socialist mayor of Guingamp.

The members of the decision-making body of the Federation (14 including the president) had little taste for the last episodes, which seriously damaged the image of the institution and cast doubt on the ability of its boss to go to the end of his third and final full term, which is scheduled to end in December 2024.

The testimony of players' agent Sonia Souid, accusing him directly of repeated advances, only overwhelmed the octogenarian president a little more.

His supposed sexist behavior, particularly with former employees, is at the heart of this audit.

If the political power has no means of dismissing the president of the Federation, Fifa being very finicky about the independence of its member associations, the government spokesman Olivier Véran estimated that the FFF "

 deserves (has) a president at the height


which makes it possible to give a good image of French football throughout the planet


The Minister of Sports had already had very harsh words towards Le Graët, Monday, January 9.

In a press conference, she had pointed to successive " 

exits from the road

 " and called on the Comex to " 

take its responsibilities


In the world of football, the discourteous words with regard to Zinédine Zidane on RMC, also aroused an avalanche of indignant reactions.

For Emmanuel Petit, world champion 98, the controversy around Zidane is only the culmination of the many "


" of President Le Graët.


This character doesn't even deserve to be mentioned by name, he doesn't even deserve to be talked about anymore.

I'm going to make a confession, I'm ashamed to be part of the same family as him (...) Did you see how he talked about Zizou and Platini, the two greatest players of recent decades?

How did he also get fried with Kylian Mbappé?

We are dozens like that among the former internationals

 , ”he said.

A rise before the decline

From his debut at the head of En-Avant Guingamp in 1972, to his withdrawal from the presidency of the FFF, Noël Le Graët had a long career as a leader in French football.

An industrialist in the food industry, he arrived in the world of football in 1972 when he became president of En-Avant Guingamp (EAG), managing to bring up the Côtes-d'Armor club, where he is from. , from the regional level to Ligue 2.

Almost twenty years later, the Breton is well established in the landscape of the most popular sport in France and in 1991 became president of the National League (LNF) – ancestor of the LFP – where he remained nine years and acquired a reputation as a strong president.

The former mayor of Guingamp (1995-2008) forged his image by opposing Bernard Tapie, then president of Olympique de Marseille.

Pushed by Le Graët, the League will "

 file a complaint against X so that all the light is shed

 " in the affair of the match-fixing Valenciennes-OM in 1993. This affair caused a scandal and led to the relegation of OM to the second division at the end of the 1993/94 season.

Above all, a personal duel begins with Tapie.

Le Graët became vice-president of the French Football Federation (FFF) in 2005, five years after leaving the League.

While French football is in crisis, a year after the fiasco of Knysna during the World Cup in South Africa, he begins his first term as president.

In 2012, after Laurent Blanc's unsuccessful stint as coach, Le Graët chose Didier Deschamps, the start of a tandem that lasted more than ten years.

It's another winning move: the "DD" team reaches the final of Euro 2016 in France (defeat against Portugal), then wins the supreme trophy: the 2018 World Cup, in Russia.

Four years later, the Blues are in the final in Qatar against Argentina.


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