French FA chief Le Graet ‘no longer has the legitimacy’ to remain in post, report says

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Noël Le Graët, the scandal of the president of the French Football Federation indicted for sexual harassment, “no longer has the necessary legitimacy to lead and represent French football”, according to a report on the governance failures of the body seen by AFP on Monday.

The report follows an audit of the FFF ordered by the French sports ministry after allegations made against Le Graet, 81, who was forced to resign earlier this month pending his outcome.

“Given his behavior towards women, his public remarks and the failures of the governance of the FFF, Mr. Le Graet no longer has the legitimacy necessary to lead and represent French football,” the report said. , adding that the body’s handling of gender-based and sexual violence cases was “neither effective nor efficient”.

Le Graët is currently under investigation by the Paris prosecutor’s office for sexual and moral harassment following the accusations brought against him by football agent Sonia Souid.

The report stated that his attitude towards women “can be characterized at the very least as sexist”, and stated that there was evidence that his behavior was “likely to be considered criminal”.

He denies any wrongdoing.

Although he has already resigned and been replaced on an interim basis by vice-president Philippe Diallo, Le Graet is still officially recognized as president by world governing body FIFA.

The report also targeted the “brutal” management practices of the body’s chief executive, Florence Hardouin, who was also suspended from her post.

FFF leaders had until February 13 to respond to the report’s findings.

Le Graet’s term runs until 2024 but the organization’s executive committee may decide to hold an extraordinary general meeting where it could vote to remove the incumbent president.

The affair has cast a cloud over French football barely a month after reaching the World Cup final in Qatar, losing on penalties to Argentina to fail to retain the title won in 2018.

Le Graet, who has been president of the FFF since 2011, had previously faced calls to resign, including from sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera, after dismissive remarks in a recent radio interview about the potential interest of French legend Zinedine Zidane to coach the national team.

Didier Deschamps recently extended his contract to remain manager until 2026, having been in charge since 2012.



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