new testimonies against Le Graët, who « firmly disputes »


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Paris (AFP) – New anonymous testimonies from former employees of the French Football Federation (FFF) evoked « inappropriate » behavior by its president Noël Le Graët, according to an investigation broadcast on Wednesday by Radio France, which the person concerned « firmly disputes », denouncing « false and malicious » allegations.

The boss of the FFF, 80, in office since 2011, has been in turmoil since the publication in September of an article in the magazine So Foot castigating his management and his behavior, which prompted the Ministry of Sports to carry out an audit. on the possible dysfunctions of the powerful football federation.

The Radio France survey, which anonymously quotes several former employees, reports a « sexist climate and misogynistic behavior at the FFF », even cases of « harassment ».

In one of these testimonies, an ex-employee denounces the « heavy » manners of Noël Le Graët, like « repeated invitations to come and dine with him ».

A former senior executive evokes for her part a trip in 2016 during which Le Graët would have put her hand on the thigh. « I pushed him away saying + President, we are not going to start the journey like that + », she said.

« I strongly contest the alleged + inappropriate + behavior towards employees within the FFF », reacted the president of the FFF in a statement sent to Radio France and AFP.

« I have always maintained respectful relationships with my colleagues in a climate of mutual trust. These anonymous false and malicious allegations are clearly intended to harm me professionally and personally, » he continued.

Other testimonies quoted by Radio France evoke the « troubled » role of Florence Hardouin, general manager of the FFF, criticized for her « brutal management ».

« I categorically deny the false allegations that are reported to you against me, » reacted the latter. « I will not answer any questions from journalists since, as you know, an audit requested by the Ministry of Sports is in progress. »

– « We will go to the end of our approach » –

This audit mission, which the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra entrusted to the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research on September 16 and which is due to begin on Thursday, follows the publication in the magazine So Foot of an article implicating the FFF and its president, accused of having sent SMS of a sexual nature to employees.

A defamation complaint has since been filed by the FFF.

« I read these testimonies (revealed by Radio France, editor’s note) and they inevitably touched me », reacted the Minister of Sports, questioned by L’Equipe. « They only reinforce my absolute determination that the audit that I have commissioned (…) will absolutely come to an end in the most total transparency and with the need to ensure that this Federation seizes much better, including in the exemplary nature of its leaders, of the challenge of preventing and fighting against all forms of gender-based or sexual violence. »

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra on August 30, 2022 during an IOC plenary meeting in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis).  For the Minister of Sports, the new revelations only "to reinforce (his) absolute determination that the audit that I have commissioned (...) will absolutely come to an end"
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra on August 30, 2022 during an IOC plenary meeting in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis). For the Minister of Sports, the new revelations only « reinforce (her) absolute determination that the audit that I have commissioned (…) will absolutely come to an end » Emmanuel DUNAND AFP/Archives

« We will go to the end of our zero tolerance approach, in relation to these phenomena which must no longer plague the sport we love », she added.

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