The president of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët, submitted his resignation on Tuesday, February 28, bringing an end to his over decade-long tenure at the helm of the organization.
No Longer Fit for the Role
Le Graët, whose mandate was set to expire in 2024, resigned from his position less than a fortnight after a report into the management practices at the FFF that had been commissioned by the French sports ministry came up with accusations of sexual and psychological harassment, and concluded that he was no longer fit for the role.
“Considering his conduct toward women, his public comments and the governance failings of the FFF, Mr. Le Graët no longer has the necessary legitimacy to run and represent French football,” the report sounded its verdict.
The investigation followed allegations of sexual and psychological harassment made against Le Graët by Sonia Souid, a female football agent.
More clouds gather above his head after the dismissive and inappropriate comments about French football legend and one of the world’s all-time greats, Zinedine Zidane, he made during an interview with French radio RMC.
Le Graët, who lost the support of the FFF executive committee and was forced to step aside from his position pending the outcome of the investigation after an emergency meeting last month, was replaced on an interim basis by vice president Phillippe Diallo.
Le Graët’s “behavioral excesses are incompatible with the carrying out of his functions,” the report stated, concluding that he should not be restored as the FFF president, and leaving him with no other choice but to submit his resignation.
Permanent Successor Vote in June
Diallo, who was chosen to fill the void on an interim basis in January, is now expected to carry out the duties until at least June when the FFF should vote for a permanent successor to the role.
Issuing an official statement, the FFF paid tribute to Le Graët’s achievements at the helm of the organization, including his contribution to the revival of the French men’s national team which reached one EURO Cup final in 2016 and two World Cup Finals, in 2018 when the team won the trophy and in 2022 when it lost in a penalty shoot-out.
On the report, the statement said that it failed to “mention any systematic failing” and is rather “based less on objective facts than on comments that have sometimes led to exaggerated bad-mouthing of the body.”
The former FFF president is set to keep his role with FIFA and continue to lead the governing body’s office in Paris.