Sexual harassment allegations, alcohol problems, clan wars… Why the French Football Federation is at the heart of the storm

This former employee FFF plays it teasingly via SMS: “Those who are used to not saying anything, it will be strange for them to explain themselves this time. ATweek after disclosure internal dysfunction, the French Football Federation will have to open its doors and play transparently. After an interview with the president of “3F”, Noël Le Graët and its CEO Florence Hardouin, the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra announced the launch of an audit to clarify the matter. September 16. Franceinfo explains why France’s biggest sports federation is on fire.

It all starts on Thursday, September 8, with publication in the magazine SoFoot of a long investigation called: “Sex, Power, Money… My Fed is going to burst!” In particular, the monthly reveals several undated text messages of a sexual nature that Noël Le Graët would have sent to current or past associates of the FFF. excerpts: “Come to my place for dinner tonight”, “I prefer blondes, so if you want”, “You’re so curvy, I’d put you in bed.” A former employee in the magazine sums up the head of French football: “It’s very simple, it jumps on anything that moves..

He also mentions the six-page article more generally “alcohol-related problems in the body”, AND “clan war or even settling scores”. “Since winning the World Cup in 2018, we can say that football has taken a backseat in the federation. Instead, we have internal wars between bosses who pollute everything, directors who think to screw everyone up. The world, but few files take seriously” observed by employee “3F”. Requested Team and WorldNoël Le Graët declined to comment. And with this: he simply wants to repeat that he will remain in office well till the end [s]we order” in December 2024.

But the revelation SoFoot make noise. The National Union of French Footballers (UNFP) condemns in a venomous press release “FFF’s silence”, “his contempt” for victims and “assumed impunity” which some officials would benefit from. More generally, the players’ union is pissed “inactivity” federation face to face “training unworthy of French football which also exposes you to danger”.

French team coach Didier Deschamps was also asked about the current climate on ThursdayBetween the two questions on the list of players called up for the two upcoming Nations League matches. “Sure! You are not cold in the eyes”, countered the Blues coach about the possible resignation of Noël Le Graët. “It’s not the calmest climate I know”, he simply admitted two months before the World Cup in Qatar. Before adding: “AGAINSTYou know my relationship with the president. Yesterday I spoke to him again after a long time [mercredi]. If I refer to the sports part, I realize that there is false information that is lies and that with time and repetition becomes nonsense.’

At almost the same time, somewhere on the floors of 87 boulevard de Grenelle in the capital’s 15th arrondissement, a press release was being finalized. The French Football Federation decided to submit “defamation complaint” against the magazine SoFoot “due to seriously defamatory allegations”. The press release states that this complaint was filed by the federation represented by its president Noël Le Graët, “with the unanimous support of its executive committee”.

The Minister of Sports did not want to comment on the topic at first. “No comment, that’s not the point”, said Amélie Oudéa-Castéra two days after the publication of the poll during an athletics event held in Paris. But faced with the scale of the controversy, she finally spoke out in the columns on Thursday night Parisian. “I’m not minimizing anything that has been returned SoFootshe assured when she had to the next day he will receive the president of the FFF as well as its general manager Florence Hardouin.

“I don’t receive them for tea, I don’t receive them to hear that everything is fine. I receive them because I need to listen to what they have to say.”

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports

in “Paris”

The Friday morning interview lasted an hour. In addition to starting the audit, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra now also wants to meet with another high-ranking member of the FFF: Philippe Diallo, deputy vice president, “so that he can share his assessment of the situation of the federation from that angle”.

As a call to order, the conclusion of the press release of the Minister of Sports reads: “Even more than others, the FFF, the leading federation in France with its two million license holders, invested by the state with a mission of public service for sport practiced at all ages and in all territories with its 15,000 clubs, has the duty to set an example in terms of ethics and sports and social integrity. [Le Graët] stated that he is fully aware of this and wants to strengthen the initiatives taken in this direction.

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