11/1/2023–|Last updated: 11/1/202305:19 PM (Makkah)
The French broadcaster BFM announced today, Wednesday – quoting unnamed sources – that the president of the French Football Association, Noel Le Graet, has been suspended from exercising his duties and assigned his deputy, Diallo, to temporarily run the affairs of the federation.
She added that the decision came after an urgent meeting of the Executive Committee of the French Federation.
Le Graet, 81, was heavily criticized for allegations of sexual harassment, which the French official denied, as well as for his statements against Zinedine Zidane – the icon of French football – that upset players and politicians.
Yesterday, Tuesday, the head of the Ethics Committee of the French Federation, Patrick Anton, called on Le Graet to resign from his post, despite his recent apology to French legend Zidane.
Zidane was one of the most prominent candidates to take over the French national team if Didier Deschamps left office, but Deschamps’ contract was extended after he led the national team to the World Cup final before losing to Argentina last December.
In response to a question about whether Zidane – who won the World Cup with France in 1998 – will now coach the Brazilian national team instead of the French national team, Le Graet said, “I don’t care, he can go anywhere he wants.”
Anton told the French sports newspaper L’Equipe, “Le Graet made statements that show that he has lost some of his grace. He looks tired and needs a rest.”
He added, “We need strong and calm leadership, but unfortunately that is not the case anymore. Throughout the season we have to apply the rules of ethics to the leaders, especially the heads of regions and competitions and refer cases to the appropriate disciplinary committees, if they cross the line.”
And Anton continued, “With regard to the president of the federation, it is clear that we do not intend to refer the matter to a disciplinary committee, but we can only ask him to step down, in the interest of football.”
Earlier, France striker Kylian Mbappe expressed his dissatisfaction with Le Graet’s statements, as he tweeted, “Zidane is France. We do not underestimate respect for the legend in this way.”
French Sports Minister Amelie Audia-Castierra was among several politicians to respond to Le Graet’s comments, saying that “the president of the country’s largest sports federation has crossed the line”.