Accusations of sexual harassment, alcohol problems, clan wars … Why the French Football Federation is at the heart of a storm


This former employee of the FFF plays it teasingly by SMS: « Those who are used to saying nothing, it will be weird for them, this time, to explain themselves ». Une week after revelations about internal dysfunctions, the French Football Federation will have to open its doors and play transparency. After an interview with the president of the « 3F », Noël Le Graët, and its general manager, Florence Hardouin, the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, announced the launch of an audit to shed light on this affair. , Friday, September 16. Franceinfo explains to you why there is fire in the largest sports federation in France.

It all starts Thursday, September 8 with the publication in the magazine SoFoot of a long investigation entitled as follows: « Sex, power, money… My fed is going to crack! » The monthly reveals in particular several SMS of a sexual nature, undated, that Noël Le Graët would have sent to current or past collaborators of the FFF. Excerpts: « Come over to my house for dinner tonight », « I prefer blondes, so if you like », « You’re awfully curvy, I would put you in my bed. » About the boss of French football, a former employee summarizes in the magazine: « It’s very simple, he jumps on anything that moves ».

More generally, the six-page article also mentions « problems related to alcohol within the body », a « clan war or even settling of accounts ». « Since the victory at the 2018 World Cup, we can say that football has taken a back seat at the federation. Instead, we have internal wars between the bosses who pollute everything, directors who think of fucking everyone. world, but not many files treated seriously », observes an employee of the « 3F ». Solicited by The Team and The world, Noël Le Graët declined to comment. A by this one: he simply wants to repeat that he will remain well in post « until the end of [s]we mandate » in December 2024.

But the revelations of SoFoot make a lot of noise. In a vitriolic press release, the National Union of French Footballers (UNFP) condemns « the silence of the FFF », « its contempt » for the victims and « assumed impunity » from which some officials would benefit. More generally, the players’ union is angry with « inaction » of the federation in the face of « practices unworthy of French football which they also put in danger ».

The coach of the France team, Didier Deschamps, was also asked about the current climate on Thursday, andBetween two questions on the list of players summoned for the two upcoming matches in the League of Nations. « Certainly! You are not cold in the eyes », retorted the coach of the Blues about a possible resignation of Noël Le Graët. « It’s not the most peaceful climate I’ve known », he simply conceded, two months before the World Cup in Qatar. Before adding: « VYou know my relationship with the president. I spoke to him again quite a long time yesterday [mercredi]. If I refer to the sports part, I realize that there are false information which are lies and which, with time and repetition, become nonsense. »

Almost at the same time, a press release was being finalized somewhere on the floors of 87 boulevard de Grenelle, in the 15th arrondissement of the capital. The French Football Federation has decided to file « defamation complaint » against the magazine SoFoot « because of the seriously defamatory imputations ». The press release specifies that this complaint was filed by the federation represented by its president, Noël Le Graët, « with the unanimous support of its executive committee ».

At first, the Minister of Sports did not wish to speak on the subject. « No comment on that, that’s not the point », said Amélie Oudéa-Castéra two days after the publication of the survey, during an athletics event organized in Paris. But faced with the scale of the controversy, she ended up speaking, Thursday evening, in the columns of the Parisian. « I am not minimizing anything that has been returned by SoFoot« she assured, when she had to receive the president of the FFF the next day, 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 to me. »

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports

at the « Parisian »

Friday morning’s interview lasted an hour. In addition to launching an audit, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra now also wants to meet another high-ranking member of the FFF: Philippe Diallo, the deputy vice-president, « so that he can in turn share his assessment of the situation of the federation from this angle ».

The conclusion of the press release from the Minister of Sports sounds like a call to order: « Even more than the others, the FFF, the leading federation in France with its two million licensees, invested by the State with a public service mission for a sport practiced at all ages and in all territories with its 15,000 clubs, has a duty to set an example in terms of ethics and sporting and societal integrity. [Le Graët] indicated to be fully aware of this, and to want to strengthen the initiatives undertaken in this direction.



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