Cyrille de la Morinerie with AFP
10:40 a.m., January 30, 2023modified to
10:41 a.m., January 30, 2023
The president of the FFF and its director general, both sidelined on January 11, will be able to read the extracts from the pre-report indicting them and respond to them, within ten days from Monday. They alone will have access to the parts — dependent — concerning them. In the same way, Philippe Diallo will be able to make observations after reading the passages relating to the malfunctions at 87 boulevard de Grenelle, the headquarters of the body, in his capacity as interim president.
This restricted access to the provisional report of the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research (IGESR) responds to a regulatory provision. In fact, it should also limit any leaks in the press between now and the publication of the definitive and contradictory document, expected in mid-February.
Authoritarian management, toxic work atmosphere, sexual harassment…
The pressure remains maximum for Noël Le Graët, all-powerful boss of the “3F” since 2011, severely shaken for five months by journalistic investigations, testimonies (mainly anonymous) from women accusing him of sexist and inappropriate behavior, and his own sweeping statements about Zinédine Zidane.
The first squall came in early September with a file from the magazine SoFoot entitled “Sex, power, money … My Fed will crack”, in which were pointed, pell-mell, the management deemed authoritarian by Florence Hardouin, the “toxic” work atmosphere and accusations of sexual harassment targeting the leader Breton. These press elements led the Ministry of Sports to announce on September 16 the opening of an audit and control mission “on the management of the Federation and the respect of the obligations attached to it”. This began a month later with the hearing of the main parties concerned.
“He told me that if I wanted him to help me, I had to go to the pan”
At 81, Le Graët is personally going through the most delicate period of his long term, which began on the ruins of the Knysna fiasco at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. His solitary management at the head of the Federation, the overwhelming testimonies and his sometimes uncontrolled media outings, as on Zidane, isolated him as never before. Her situation became almost untenable when Sonia Souid, a players’ agent, denounced Le Graët’s insistent attitude on the telephone or during professional meetings in the press: “He told me face to face, in his apartment, very clearly, that if I wanted him to help me, I had to go to the pan”.
This first face-to-face testimony prompted the courts to open an investigation for sexual and moral harassment. “NLG” denied the allegations and castigated the leaks in the press, such as the “numerous interferences and political pressures”. “Mr. Le Graët had neither the opportunity to read the elements concerning him, nor the opportunity to put forward his observations in defense”, denounced his lawyers in a press release.
In recent days, new testimonies have been added to the file, that of a former collaborator who compared in an article by Press-Ocean Le Graët to “a hunter”, “sick of zigouigoui” and that of Aline Riera, member of the comex of the FFF, revealed by The Teamwho at the Jan. 19 reunion referred to “heavy lyrics” and “repetition of inappropriate words” in “NLG’s” past.
The Breton leader assured that he would resign in the event of a negative report about him
The Executive Committee of the FFF, from the list presented by “NLG” during its last re-election in 2021 (until December 2024), pushed the latter to withdraw on January 11. And decided to lay off Hardouin, general manager since 2013, with disputed working methods.
Pending the audit, the “DG” did not speak publicly, but his entourage denounced to the newspaper The world “acts of sexual and moral harassment that she suffered from Mr. Le Graët”. Relaunched by AFP, the entourage of the leader did not wish to give more details.
The “government” of French football is now awaiting the conclusions of the audit to adopt a common position. An extraordinary meeting of the “Comex” will be organized once the report has been delivered, with the fate of Le Graët at the heart of the debates. According to an internal source, the Breton leader assured that he would resign in the event of a negative report about him. In this hypothesis, Diallo would retain the bar of the FFF at least until the Federal Assembly in June.
Brayden White, a veteran sports writer at Global Happening, brings his wealth of knowledge and expertise to the sports section. With over a decade of experience, he is committed to delivering high-quality coverage of the latest games and events.