France: Le Graet quits as FFF president after harassment accusations


Noel Le Graet spent almost 12 years as leader of the French Football Federation, but he leaves under a cloud after a series of allegations.

Noel Le Graet resigned as president of the French Football Federation at Tuesday’s executive committee meeting following recent allegations of moral and sexual harassment.

The 81-year-old firmly denied all accusations against him after prosecutors confirmed in January an investigation into his conduct had been opened.

He temporarily stepped back from his role as president after agent Sonia Souid made accusations against him, but now he has formally left the post.

In an RMC interview, Souid outlined how her belief was that in their dealings from 2013 to 2017, Le Graet saw her as an object of his sexual desire.

Le Graet has also been accused of improper conduct in relation to female employees. The FFF filed a defamation suit against So Foot magazine, the publication in which a number of allegations were made.

Confirming the anticipated departure of its president, the FFF said in a statement: “Noel Le Graet announced this Tuesday, February 28 to the executive committee of the French Football Federation his decision to leave office.

“Philippe Diallo, vice-president, will act as interim president of the FFF until June 10, 2023, the date of the next federal assembly.”

The FFF said it wished “to salute the remarkable sporting and economic results” achieved during Le Graet’s presidency, since he was elected to office on June 18, 2011.

It pointed to strong results on the pitch, which have included a 2018 World Cup triumph for Didier Deschamps’ men’s team, plus “an ambitious training policy”, and said there had been major growth on the participation side in the women’s game.

Le Graet departs with the FFF as “a solid institution”, the statement added, pointing to it having €56million in equity.

As well as the more serious claims made against him, Le Graet also came under fire after his bizarre comments about Zinedine Zidane in the wake of confirming Deschamps’ new contract.

Kylian Mbappe was among those to criticise Le Graet, who said he would not “give a toss” if Zidane called about the possibility of taking over Les Bleus.

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