The president of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët, resigned this Tuesday, February 28, in the midst of a judicial investigation against him for alleged sexual harassment. Last January, Le Graët was suspended after controversial comments against former soccer player Zinedine Zidane.
Noël Le Graët steps aside. The president of the French Football Federation resigned his position on February 28, embroiled in a series of scandals, including alleged sexual harassment.
After the authorities opened a judicial investigation against him, remaining in the leadership of professional foot football in the country became untenable.
In early February, a report from France’s General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research indicated that the 81-year-old should not return to his position, from which he was suspended last January, because his “excesses of behavior are incompatible with the exercise of their functions”.
The report assured that the now former director of the FFF held “a problematic attitude” towards women that “can be described as, at least, sexist.”
#UPDATE French football chief Noel Le Graet has resigned after months of accusations of sexual and psychological harassment, a senior member of the French Football Federation told AFP. pic.twitter.com/mkXuhXgnkJ
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) February 28, 2023
In addition, an audit commissioned by the Ministry of Sports highlighted inappropriate conduct on the part of Le Graët towards women.
Based on specific testimonies and documents provided by certain witnesses, the rapporteurs consider that this behavior cannot be considered respectful of the dignity of these people and does not comply with the obligation to set an example that is expected of the president of a federation,” he stressed. .
The Paris Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation for moral and sexual harassment against Le Graet, who denies the accusations.
Likewise, the Minister of Sports, Amelie Oudea-Castera, spoke out against him, pointing out that the now former director of the FFF “does not have the legitimacy to manage and represent French football.”
The trigger for the recent suspension of Le Graët
The man who led the Federation for 11 years faces several controversies.
Since last January Noël Le Graët has been suspended and removed from his responsibilities towards the organization. At that time, the triggering element was the derogatory comments he made about the possible interest of former soccer player Zinedine Zidane in coaching the national team.
“Let him go wherever he wants!”, were some of the words of Le Graët after the renewal of the French coach Didier Deschamps with the national team until 2026 was made official and the press suggested Zidane as a substitute in case of that France did not have a good performance in the World Cup in Qatar.
Although he later apologized for his comments, the now former FFF director drew a strong reaction from politicians and sports personalities, including star French striker Kylian Mbappé, who criticized him for “lack of respect for the legend”, in reference to Zidane.
With Reuters and EFE