New controversy around the president of the FFF following an additional investigation into the World Cup in Qatar.

[Updated October 12, 2022 at 4:21 p.m.] Interviewed during the France 2 program Complément d’Enquête, the president of the FFF was very distant with regard to the living conditions of workers in Qatar, particularly in the Hotel des Bleus. After showing videos of cramped rooms infested with cockroaches, where workers piled up on bunk beds, a kitchen in the most total unsanitary conditions, the president of the French Football Federation replied to the journalist: “It’s not unsolvable that, it’s a lick of paint. There’s still time to fix that.”

Asked to react, Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said she was shocked on RTL. This reaction shocked me, I found it to be above ground […] that it lacked humanity and even lucidity”. The minister is currently particularly awaited after a major audit launched within the FFF whose results are not yet planned. “I had a first return which honestly did not remove the doubts, so I will not let them go on the subject”, explained Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. “I want that ‘we are vigilant and irreproachable […]. They are committed to meeting there in the next few days, they must do the job.”

In a video shared on Youtube on September 16, Romain Molina explains that the various abuses suffered, mentioned in the introduction to the paper, have been passed over in silence. He assures that they started in the 1980s with Francis-Pierre Coché, who was then the coach of the French women’s team and allegedly sexually harassed players so that they could join the France team. “This investigation (…) concerns a system. The administrations have succeeded, the leaders have succeeded, but in the end, it is almost the same system of stifling business”, explains the journalist. He takes the example of coach Angélique Roujas, who was fired by the FFF for taking advantage of minors. According to Romain Molina, everyone at the FFF knew about it at the time, but the woman managed to keep her coaching licenses and was fired several years after the fact.

Romain Molina points out that FFF leaders were made aware of these actions, but that no one did anything. Thus, Brigitte Henriques, number 2 of the Federation, would have assured a player that she could not do anything. The author of the survey assures that certain families and certain players did not dare to speak out of fear. Others, members of amateur clubs or families of members, have sent emails and letters for cases of pedocrime to the FFF. According to the journalist, they did not receive any assistance or response in return. The French Football Federation would not have informed the Ministers of Sports and the competent authorities of the facts entrusted to it. “If it goes to the end, we will realize that the Fed, obviously, was aware and failed in its public service mission”, assures Romain Molina.

This survey appears after that published by the magazine So Foot on September 8, 2022 which denounced sexual and moral harassment. Based on numerous testimonies, “sexual” SMS would have been sent by Noël Le Graët to young women. “I prefer blondes, so if you like…”; “You look awfully curvy, I’d put you in my bed!” These SMS would have been sent to current or past collaborators who testify anonymously in the monthly. “It’s very simple, he jumps on anything that moves”, explains in particular a former administrative officer. The height? “Everyone is aware at the Federation, says the source again, it’s been going on for ten years.” According to So Foot, several women have been forced to resign in recent years because they felt “sexually harassed, but also morally”. In response, the FFF sued the magazine for defamation. Following the revelations of So Foot, the Ministry of Sports launched an audit following a meeting with Noël Le Graët and Florence Hardouin (director general of the body) this Friday. “The Minister told them that she was going to initiate a mission from the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research (IGESR) to audit and control the management of the Federation and compliance with the obligations that attach themselves to it.

Radio France also unveiled this Wednesday, October 12 a new accusation of sexual harassment against the president of the FFF Noël Le Graët, pushing him towards an imminent resignation?

The newspaper unveils testimonies from women who have worked within the body and denounce the “inappropriate” behavior of the president. “With me, Noël Le Graët was really clumsy, confides a witness. He told me that he wanted to take me home. He did not send me text messages. At that time, he was not a pro on the phone. But they were repeat invitations to come and have dinner with him.” She says, still according to the media, that one Christmas day the president of the FFF told her: “If something happens between us, don’t worry, no one will know.”

When questioned, Noël le Graët disputes the accusations. “I strongly contest the alleged ‘inappropriate’ behavior towards employees within the FFF”, writes the boss of the Federation. I have always maintained respectful relationships with my colleagues in an atmosphere of mutual trust. These false and malicious anonymous allegations are clearly intended to harm me professionally and personally.”

Noel Le Graët biography. Noël Le Graët was born on December 25, 1941 in Bourbriac, a town located in the Côtes d’Armor department in Brittany. He has led the French Football Federation since 2011 and has also been a UEFA representative in FIFA since 2019. On March 13, 2021, he was re-elected for a fourth term. He is also the founder of an agrifood group that bears his name in the town of Guingamp, of which he was mayor between 1995 and 2008. He was also the president of the club from 1972 to 1991 and then from 2002 to 2011 where he was pass a course at the Breton club.

Noël Le Graët was vice-president of the FFF from 2005 to 2011, where he was in charge of economic issues for the largest body in French football. In 2008, he voted in favor of the renewal of Raymond Domenech at the head of the national team despite a very complicated Euro and immense unpopularity. It was in 2011 that he took over as head of the French Football Federation. He won 54.39% of the vote against outgoing President Fernand Duchaussoy. On December 15, 2012, he was re-elected with a more comfortable lead (83.07%) for a four-year term that will run until March 18, 2017. It was then that he was re-elected again. against Jacques Rousselot with 57.4% of the vote. More recently, on March 13, 2021, he returned for a fourth term by winning the elections against Frédéric Thiriez, former president of the Professional Football League (LFP) and Michel Moulin. He collected 73.02% of the votes. Since the time he has been at the head of the FFF, Noël Le Graët has experienced many extra-sporting events. In September 2020, the Breton leader reacted to Neymar’s accusations against OM defender Alvaro Gonzalez who allegedly uttered racist insults to the Brazilian. Noël Le Graët then affirms that the “racist phenomenon in sport, and in football in particular, does not exist or hardly exists” thus creating a lively controversy.

Noël Le Graët is also known for his position on the Karim Benzema case in the France team. If today the Real Madrid striker has returned to the selection, he has experienced a long period of absence for non-sporting reasons. In December 2015, when the Mathieu Valbuena sextape affair exploded and the former Lyonnais was implicated, the president of the FFF explained that Karim Benzema was excluded from the France team “until the situation is changing.” He adds that for Merengue to return to the France team, “the judge must decide that the file is empty or that Valbuena and him become friends again after the judge has decided to confront them”. Deprived of Euro 2016, the French striker explains in an interview with Marca that Didier Deschamps and Noël Le Graët had “given in to a racist part of France”. On November 24, 2021, the judgment falls and Karim Benzema receives a one-year suspended prison sentence and a €75,000 fine. Following this decision, the leader of the FFF announces that the attacker remains “selectable”. Before that, in May 2021, Didier Deschamps summons the Real Madrid player for the Euro after five and a half years of absence in selection.

In 2018, the Court of Auditors drafted a report which was revealed by Le Monde. The FFF is then pinned for its more than advantageous remuneration. For Noël Le Graët, he is accused of excessive use of private planes to get around. On the other hand, he occupies the presidency of the FFF on a voluntary basis but earns 206,000 euros net per year to sit on the FIFA council according to Le Monde.