After his resignation from the post of the FFF on Tuesday February 28, Noël Le Graë ;t strikes back again in the media
An exit through the small door. Noël Le Graët is no longer the president of the FFF, but was quick to to bounce back since it was immediately appointed to the Paris office of Fifa to bring its expertise to; Gianni Infantino. If his professional future in football is no longer threatened, Noël Le Graët wants to clear his honor and start a legal action against him. against the Minister of Sports and the audit report by filing a complaint for defamation against the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. "I will challenge the report. My lawyers are going to do it through any legal means available to them. They will challenge the irregularity of the administrative investigation within the Federation and will request the cancellation of the report of the fact-finding mission. The investigation of which I was the subject was led to in charge, in total disregard of my rights and of the adversarial principle, he continues. She has been judge and judged and ça, it is not possible, even if she claims not. (…) She called me. yesterday morning
(Monday) telling me she wanted to talk. I said to her, “Hello Madam Minister, later, please”. And I hung up. In the afternoon, I had the president for a long time. (Emmanuel) Macron."
Asked by RTL on Wednesday March 1 after the accusations against Against him, the Minister of Sports pleads not guilty and speaks of a poorly controlled line of defense. "I find it distressing, this defense strategy does not fool many people. I say it again, I remained polite, I never insulted anyone. nobody, I never treated him of stalker. We did our job which was to listen to a number of people who had testimonies. Over 115 auditions have been completed. carried out, a thorough, methodical, coherent, rigorous work. It was the prosecutor who, in view of the elements that were presented to him, transmitted, in application of this reporting obligation, who decided? that there was matter for open an investigation for acts of moral and sexual harassment. The investigation will tell.
What were the conclusions of the audit?
The conclusion of the audit mission on "malfunctions" to the FFF have shown that "behavioral drifts" of the Chairman "are incompatible with the exercise of the functions and the requirement of exemplarity; which is attached to it. The document from the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research (IGESR) denounces “inappropriate public positions”, ” inappropriate behavior; […] towards women" with "ambiguous SMS for some and " clearly sexual character for others”. An attitude " accentuated by the excessive consumption of alcohol". The inspectors "invite the federal authorities to examine this situation in application of the statutory provisions".
What defense of Noël Le Graët on the audit?
Noël Le Graët strikes back. Indirectly with a press release. forwarded to; AFP Thursday, February 2 by his lawyers, the president of the FFF wants to clear his honor. Florence Bourg and Thierry Marembert, lawyers for the latter, denounced a pre-audit conducted to About the FFF and its "indictment-like" president. They assure that the leader" will firmly defend his honour". "The virulence of the words used to regard to Monsieur Le Graët is surprising in view of the emptiness; of its factual basis, which is based on truncated and anonymous elements and testimonies.
Lawyers say former Guingamp chairman feels 'deep sense of injustice' facing this audit mission, submitted according to them " political and media pressure which could only have biased it”, and which took the form of a “legitimacy trial”. Noël Le Graët has until February 13 to respond to the partial report sent to him. transmitted. "Despite our serious concerns about the capacity inspectors at to extract itself from the political and media influences which have not ceased to weigh on them, we will respond to this working document within the time allotted to us so that its fair measure of honesty by M. Le Graët" end the lawyers.
Despite the many accusations, evidence, testimonies, Noël Le Graët does not intend to resign quickly from his post. On RTL, Florence Bourg, his lawyer, denounces the conditions of the investigation. "À At this stage, for the moment, he will take his decision quietly and certainly not under pressure from the minister, since there is a big political influence, she regretted. He will take his decision quietly, there is no fire in the room. the French Football Federation. He will take his time. He has a sense of total injustice and rightly so because this report and this investigation came about in an outrageous way”. I'm sorry to tell you that there is no SMS to send. clearly sexual character in the report”, affirms the lawyer. For the latter, it is "an execution report to bring down Noël Le Graët".
Why an audit was carried out? ; summer launched around the FFF and Christmas Le Graët ?
For the moment, the president of the FFF is "withdrawn" until the final publication of the audit. The latter was launched by the Ministry of Sports a few weeks ago in order to analyze the management and management methods within the institution after the publication by the magazine So Foot d' 39;an investigation into suspected serious malfunction.
“We will have conclusions which are rather around the end of January which will then require having a contradictory stage with the leaders of the FFF, we will have a restitution rather around mid- February" had explained the Minister of Sports at the launch of the investigations in December 2022.
According to information from several media at the end of January, the members of the committee executive of the Federation (Comex) should now try to push Noël Le Graët to resign at their next meeting on February 9. The former president of Guingamp would have opened the possibility; from a start, especially after opening the judicial tab.
The inspectors in charge of the audit carried out within the (FFF) had in fact issued, as of January 13, a report to the public prosecutor of Paris relating to sexist insults, opening a new procedure, some of the acts reported in the audit are likely to be sanctioned by the French courts.
An investigation opened for harassment; moral and sexual element
Noël Le Graët is therefore also under threat from French justice. AFP reported on Tuesday 17 January that an investigation has been carried out. opened for moral and sexual harassment. According to Le Monde, the opening of a procedure results from the testimony of Sonia Souid, agent of several French international players, collected by the auditors of the General Inspection Education, Sport and Research Association (IGESR). The IGESR having subsequently carried out a report to; justice.
The Paris prosecutor's office confirmed; with AFP the opening of a preliminary investigation, the investigations were entrusted to the Brigade of repression against delinquency to persons. The investigation would also relate to many other testimonies published by the press.
After this announcement, the Breton leader was quick to to react. Noël Le Graët denied in a press release written by his lawyers and transmitted to AFP "all (the) charges of moral or sexual harassment". If he said he was surprised to learn this information via the press, he rejected; all charges and denounced the interference of the Ministry of Sports as well as the political pressure surrounding this "case".
According to information from RMC, the IGESR first issued a note to the Paris prosecutor's office to describe the facts likely to be punished. hensibles in the auditions they have been conducting for several weeks. In a second time, the inspectors brought the testimonies in order to support the alleged facts. The prosecution then opened the investigation of the head of “sexual and moral harassment”, considering that the sexist outrages could have been repeated and that in this case #39;species, so they constitute harassment. The goal for the magistrates is now to see if he has had a "moral and sexual harassment system in place in the context of work".
< h2 id="the-heavy-and-very-insistent-graet">The “heavy” Graët and very insistent ?
The first accusations against Noël Le Graët date back to 1980. several months already and have been relayed in particular by the independent journalist Romain Molina and
So Foot en September 2022. Based on numerous testimonies, the magazine's investigation mentioned “sexual” text messages. who would have been sent by Noël Le Graët to young women, with explicit proposals: "I prefer blondes, so if ça tells you…" ; "You are really curvy, I would put you in my bed!"
These texts would have been; sent to current or past collaborators who then testified anonymously in the monthly. “It's very simple, he jumps on anything that moves”, explained in particular a former administrative officer. "Everyone knows about it the Federation”, said the source, “it's been ten years that "it has lasted". According to
So Foot, several women have been led to resign in recent years because they felt "sexually harassed, but also morally".
Radio France also revealed on Wednesday October 12 other damning testimonies for the president of the FFF. "With me, Noël Le Graët was really clumsy, confided a witness. He was telling me he wanted to take me home. He wasn't texting me. À at that time, he was not a telephone pro. But these were invitations to rehearsal to come and have dinner with him." She claims, still according to public radio, that one day the president of the FFF said to her: “If something happens between us, don't worry, nobody will not know."
The testimony of Sonia Souid
On Tuesday, January 10, Sonia Souid, players' agent, spoke openly in the media and in particular in L'Equipe. Very moved, she denounced to her turn to the inappropriate attitude of Noël Le Graët on several occasions. that she would have suffered when she dreamed of only one thing, “doing her job and promoting women's football”.
Noël Le Graët would have benefited in particular from of her situation to lure her to his home, claiming a meeting with Brigitte Henriques, in charge of women's football in Paris. the FFF. Enthusiastic, Sonia Souid explains that the latter will never come to the meeting and that she will have to deal with a seductive Le Graët, in her apartment, with two glasses of champagne.
"I am taken aback. He's still the president. I am disappointed. I had to change color. I left, telling her that I was going to join my fiancé. He let me go. Afterwards, he called me regularly to invite me to come and see me. dinner…”, she explains today. "I have voice messages, and some text messages: ''Are you available tomorrow evening? I insist.'' Or he writes to me: ''I miss you''. He wants to invite me to matches: excuses to see me,” she adds. Accusations repeated on BFMTV.
Noël Le Graët : "Il n&# there will be nothing against me"
From the revelations of So Foot, the FFF attacked for defamation the magazine. On Wednesday October 26, in a very long interview with Le Parisien, the president of the FFF Noël Le Graët had rejected all charges and denounced a cabal against him. "These are not accusations, but rumors being circulated on the basis of anonymous testimonies. I totally and firmly deny it. I have never harassed nobody,” he said firmly at first.
And to advance the thesis of a plot against him to bring him down. "I have the weakness to think so. It's so absurd. I tried to look for a face, a person… For several days, my name was thrown in pasture. I have been decked out of all evils. I took a wave in the face. With the Twitter court, some media prosecutors, it becomes an eyesore. Enough is enough. This hurts me terribly today…"
At the exit of the Comex of January 11, which acted; his withdrawal, Eric Borghini, a member of the latter indicated; that Noël Le Graët had once again sworn to have done nothing. "We got to the bottom of things. We started by listening to our president, who started Comex telling us 'I didn't do anything, I swear on your head all that I did nothing and that the audit report will be very positive for me, there will be nothing against me. Noël Le Graë t himself would have proposed to step back, until that the audit report is studied; by the committee executive.
A broader-based sexual harassment scandal the FFF?
Is the Le Graët case a symptom of wider abuses within the French Football Federation? In a video shared on Youtube on 16 Last September, the independent journalist Romain Molina explained that various abuses suffered within the FFF had been ignored for decades. He evoked supposed facts having started in the 1980s with Francis-Pierre Coché, who was then the coach of the French women’s team and allegedly harassed sexually of the players so that they can integrate the team of France.
“The administrations have succeeded, the leaders have succeeded, but in the end, it's almost the same system of stifling business”, explained then the columnist. He took the example of coach Angélique Roujas, who was fired by the FFF for taking advantage of of minors. According to Romain Molina, everyone in the FFF knew about it. at the time, but the leader had nevertheless managed to keep his coaching licenses and has been update the door many years after the fact.
Romain Molina has also been pointing out for several months that leaders of the FFF have been informed of these actions, but that no one did anything. Thus, Brigitte Henriques, number 2 of the Federation, would have ensured to a player that she couldn't do anything. The author of the survey assures that some families and some players did not dare to speak out of fear.
Others, members of amateur clubs or families of members, have addressed 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 which have been disclosed to him. entrusted. "If çit goes all the way, we will realize that the Fedé, obviously, was aware and failed to do so. its public service mission”, assures Romain Molina.
The Zinedine Zidane controversy, the slippage of too much?
Already criticized to the head of the FFF at; soon to be 82 years old, Noël Le Graët did not survive an interview with RMC Sport Sunday 8 January. At the microphone of "Bartoli Time", the president of the federation had commented the renewal of Didier Deschamps as coach of the France team and judged; the unfounded Zidane rumor to take charge of the Blues. "I wouldn"t even have taken it on the phone," a visibly annoyed Le Graët; and coasting when it came to commenting on Zizou s future and possible move to Brazil."Zidane in Brazil? I have nothing to do with it. shake, he can go where he wants! He can go where he wants, in a club. In selection, I believe in it; trouble as far as he is concerned."
A few minutes after his remarks, Kylian Mbappé himself had defended Zinedine Zidane in a scathing tweet amid an outcry general against the president of the Federation: "Zidane is France, we don&39;t disrespect the caption as ça." A reaction that will be welcomed by many personalities, suggesting a probably deleterious atmosphere within the FFF. The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra will also not fail to reframe Noël Le Graët. " new above ground with the added bonus this time of a shameful lack of respect, which offends us all, especially a legend of football and sport: a 'president' of the first sports federation of France should not say ça, estimated; the member of the government. Apologies for this word too much about Zinédine Zidane please."
"Lassitude, not to say exasperation", for Oudéa-Castéra
Facing the controversy, the president of the FFF had published; a press release Monday, January 9 with AFP, speaking of awkward remarks and apologizing to Zinedine Zidane. "I want to present my apologies for these remarks which absolutely do not reflect my thought, nor my consideration for the player that he was and the coach that he is became. I granted an interview at; RMC I shouldn't have grant because he was looking for controversy by opposing Didier to; Zinedine Zidane, two monuments of French football. I admit to having made some awkward remarks which created a misunderstanding. Zinedine Zidane knows the immense esteem that I have for him, like all French people, will write Noël Le Graët. According to information from Le Parisien, the president of the FFF had to call the world champion to explain his remarks and apologize again.
These excuses will probably not have been enough. The Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra will denounce "words are worrying as they show that it is possible that çhas tripped up. new to the future" and will express "a form of weariness, not to say exasperation, at with regard to words that we no longer want to hear and attitudes that we no longer want to see”, underlining the “essential dimension of representation” of the president of the FFF and a "bankruptcy, with a flinching speech, a freewheeling speech, sometimes seriously, repeatedly". Followed by other members of the government and the majority, the minister will add that "these successive exits from the road are detrimental to the image of our country" and that "our great players deserve better than what they have today" the head of their federation". A pressure that offered little choice to the Committee; executive.
For the Ministry of Sports, the internal investigation will “show that the FFF is not doing anything, particularly in terms of control of good repute supervisors in clubs as part of the protection of licensees and the fight against all forms of violence and exclusion, which must not be forgotten, both in terms of pre “vention than actions”. As for that of justice, it could go much further in sanctions.
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