Romain Rouillard / Photo credit: ANTOINE MASSINON / A2M SPORT CONSULTING / DPPI VIA AFP 22:48 p.m., June 08, 2023At the microphone of Europe 1 Sport, Philippe Diallo, interim president of the FFF, returned to all the news, sometimes tormented, of French football at the beginning of the year. The one who will, in all likelihood, be reappointed this Saturday has not avoided any subject.
It is a general assembly with rather limited suspense that awaits Philippe Diallo this Saturday. The interim president of the French Football Federation should, barring a huge surprise, see his lease extended at the head of the body he has led since the resignation of Noël Le Graët last February. At the microphone of Jacques Vendroux for Europe 1, this man of the shadows, suddenly propelled into full light, returned to these last months particularly agitated in the corridors of the "3F".
Starting with the multiple grievances addressed to former leader Noël Le Graët. Aged 81 and increasingly contested, the Breton was also the target of various accusations relating to text messages of a sexual nature that he would have sent to collaborators of the Federation. These revelations of the magazine So Foot were accompanied by several testimonies attesting to an "inappropriate" behavior to which are added controversial remarks on the World Cup in Qatar and a contempt displayed against Zinedine Zidane which will have been the slippage too many. Enough to lead the Armorican to submit his resignation on February 28.
Difficult moments after the departures of Le Graët and Hardouin
It is therefore a federation on the verge of implosion that Philippe Diallo takes charge. The applicant therefore chose to take refuge in work. "I thought my duty was first and foremost to ensure that the federation and French football continue to function as well as possible. And it takes a lot of work on a daily basis. So I was absorbed by a lot of files and a lot of work at the Federation, "he explains to the microphone of Europe 1.
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This tormented period, also marked by the dismissal of Florence Hardouin, director general of the "3F", was however difficult to absorb on a human level, he concedes. "Since autumn 2022, there has been a very strong press campaign against both President Le Graët, the Director General of the Federation coupled with a ministerial investigation into the Federation. And all this has a very strong human dimension and has repercussions on the personal lives of each other, especially those who have been directly concerned, "says Philippe Diallo.
The 59-year-old leader, who evokes a "taste of waste", also wanted to salute the record of his predecessor. "He succeeded in bringing French football to a World Cup victory and he stabilized the economy. And so to find him in a situation where he has to resign was bound to be painful for all those who were by his side."
"I was confronted with a rather unprecedented act"
A few months later, another thorny issue came to the heart of Philippe Diallo's agenda. Reproaching the coach Corinne Diacre for too brutal management, several players of the women's France team had then decided to simply slam the door of the Blues. "I was confronted with a rather unprecedented act, that is to say players who speak publicly to denounce their coach," he recalls, not without denouncing an "inappropriate form".
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Nevertheless, after the conclusions of an audit conducted by several members of the FFF executive committee, Philippe Diallo made the decision to dismiss the 48-year-old technician. While complimenting "an upright woman who has shown a lot of work and professionalism in her functions". It is therefore Hervé Renard, former coach of Saudi Arabia, Ivory Coast or Morocco, who will be in charge of piloting the Blues at the next World Cup (July 20 - August 20). "A man who exudes a real charisma and who, by the energy he releases, has already, I think, transformed the face of our team of France," says Philippe Diallo.
Finally, the leader spoke about the revelations of former referee Nicolas Pottier in an interview with So Foot on Thursday. The latter says he filed a complaint against X on February 14 for a rape he allegedly suffered in 2009. And to denounce the deleterious atmosphere within the French arbitration and the homophobic cabal led against it. "I wanted the federation to react immediately and take initiatives directly," says Philippe Diallo. "We immediately made a report to the Ministry of Sports so that things are completely square on our side," he concludes.