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Lost “legitimacy” at the head of French football, “at least sexist” behavior, and major dysfunctions in the governance of the French Football Federation. The provisional report of the FFF’s audit mission overwhelms its president, Noël Le Graët.
Transmitted Monday, January 30 to the leaders of the first sports federation in France, a preliminary report from the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research (IGESR), commissioned by the Ministry of Sports last fall, did not spare no one and especially not the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët, ever closer to the exit.
Neither Noël Le Graët, withdrawn since January 11, nor its general manager Florence Hardouin, laid off since the same date, nor even the steering committee of the body or its executive committee, can resist the conclusions of this document, tentative and still incomplete.
“The mission considers that, given his behavior towards women, his public statements and the failures of the governance of the FFF, Noël Le Graët no longer has the necessary legitimacy to administer and represent French football”, can we read about the 81-year-old leader, who is going through the most delicate period of his mandate, which began in 2011.
His attitude towards women “can at least be described as sexist”, say the inspectors. The mission also collected testimonies relating to the actions of the Breton leader “likely to receive a criminal qualification”.
>> To read also: To dismiss Le Graët from the presidency of the FFF? Not that easy…
Reporting to the Public Prosecutor of Paris
The inspectors, who on January 13 made a report to the public prosecutor of Paris, indicated that they would transmit additional information to justice.
It is on the basis of this report that the Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation for moral and sexual harassment against Noël Le Graët, in mid-January.
After an autumn marked by accusations of inappropriate or sexist behavior and a start to the year at the rate of controversy (comments on Zidane, journalistic investigations, etc.), will Noël Le Graët be able to withstand this new storm?
Asked, one of his lawyers did not wish to comment on Monday evening. But until then, the one nicknamed the “Menhir” has denied all accusations of harassment, lambasting in recent days a “clearly incriminating administrative investigation”.
The FFF, managed on an interim basis by Vice-President Philippe Diallo, has for the moment chosen to temporize. It “will communicate its own conclusions and decisions after the delivery of the final audit commissioned by the Ministry of Sports”, reacted the body in a press release.
This definitive and contradictory report is expected in mid-February, because the leaders (Le Graët, Hardouin, Diallo) have until the 13th to make observations.
Duo Le Graët / Hardouin “toxic”
They will have work to do, because beyond the reproaches made to Noël Le Graët, it is the whole authority which is pinned on its policy of prevention and fight against sexual and gender-based violence, “neither effective nor efficient” according to the IGESR inspectors.
The mission, which proposes 18 recommendations to the FFF, ensures that this subject “is not a priority deployed rationally by the FFF in the territories”.
She also does not spare Florence Hardouin, the general manager since 2013, whose management “can be described as brutal”, but not “harassing”.
His relations with Le Graët are defined as “toxic”: “The couple president – general manager has reached its limits”, estimate the listeners of the IGESR, evoking “clan logics” of management and a “very self-centered vision of power” .
Asked, the entourage of Florence Hardouin affirmed that the general manager “challenged any breach within the framework of her functions” and that she “will restore the truth after the publication of the final audit”. The DG, who had been hospitalized for a heart attack shortly after his layoff, was summoned to the FFF on February 21 for an interview prior to dismissal.
The auditors of the IGESR also pinpoint the “Comex” of the FFF, essentially “a place of findings and consensus” leaving “no room for opposition”… As for the steering committee (Codir), bathed in an “atmosphere sexist and violent (…) until 2020”, it “plays more of a role of information exchange than of strategic management”.
The “Fédé” of vice-world champions now knows its areas of work. And the debates at the next “Comex”, scheduled for February 9, promise to be lively.