Noel Le Graet resigns as French Football Federation president in the wake of audit review & controversial comments on Zinedine Zidane
- Changes made at the top of French football
- Step down had been predicted
- Philippe Diallo to act as interim president
WHAT HAPPENED? Change at the top of French football has been on the cards for some time, with Le Graet finding himself at the centre of accusations regarding his private life while the FFF has become the subject of an independent audit review. Confirmation of Le Graet’s departure sees the 81-year-old walk away from a prominent post prior to his fourth term in office coming to a close in 2024.
WHAT THEY SAID: A statement from the FFF reads: “Noel Le Graet announced today to the Executive Committee of the French Football Federation his decision to leave his functions. Philippe Diallo, vice-president, will act as interim president of the FFF until June 10, 2023, date of the next federal assembly.
“Regarding the audit of the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research (IGESR), the FFF notes that this report does not mention any systemic failure, nor any breach of its sovereign missions. The FFF nevertheless notes that this report is based less on objective facts than on assessments which have sometimes led to a disproportionate denigration of the body.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Le Graet, who joined the FFF in 2011, has also faced criticism of late for comments he made regarding Les Bleus legend Zinedine Zidane, with it suggested that he “wouldn't even have taken his call” had the 1998 World Cup winner expressed interest in succeeding Didier Deschamps as national team coach.
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WHAT NEXT? La Graet later apologised for what he said were “clumsy remarks”, with Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid among those to have aired criticism in public, and he has now cleared the path for somebody else to guide the FFF forward after overseeing an era that delivered World Cup glory in 2018 and a UEFA Nations League triumph in 2021.