After aiming a jibe at Zinedine Zidane, Noël Le Graet could be out as FFF chief
LE GRAËT'S COSTLY
Noël Le Graët, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), is counting the cost of his very public swipe at Zinedine Zidane.
Speaking to RMC Sport on Sunday, Le Graët said he “wouldn’t have picked up the phone” had Zidane called him to offer his services as France coach.
In the wake of the 81-year-old’s remarks, major figures in football and French politics have come out in support of Zidane.
France’s sports minister, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, described Le Graët’s words as “a display of disrespect that offends us all.”
Oudéa-Castéra also told reporters: “The country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, is offended at such comments about a legend of French sport.”
The day after his RMC interview, Le Graët said sorry in a statement issued to AFP: “I apologise for my remarks. They don’t reflect what I think.”
However, the blue-touch paper had been lit. Hours later, player agent Sonia Souid publicly accused Le Graët of sexually harassing her.
Speaking to L’Équipe, Souid said: “He made it clear that it would be a great idea if we ended up in bed. He saw me as two tits and an arse.”
“He looked at me like candy. When I arrived, I saw two glasses filled with champagne. He’d call me regularly to invite me to dinner.”
On Wednesday, the FFF announced that Le Graët has been suspended as president until the conclusion of an internal investigation into the claims.
Le Graët is also under fire for seemingly renewing the contract of France coach Didier Deschamps without consulting fellow FFF chiefs.
Deschamps has extended until 2026 - so his deal expires after Le Graët’s mandate ends in 2024. This hasn’t gone down well with the FFF’s Executive Committee.
Having seen three controversies blow up in quick succession - starting with his remarks about Zidane - Le Graët now faces the prospect of a premature end to his term as FFF president.