France Football president agrees to suspension after Zidane remarks

Noel Le Graet was asked to step down from his duties as FFF president

France Football president agrees to suspension after Zidane remarks

Ayoola Kelechi 14:00 - 12.01.2023

After mounting pressure, the decision was taken by the executive committee of the France Football Federation

The President of the France Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, has been suspended from his duties pending the outcome of an investigation into his private conduct, just days after coming under fire for statements made about France and Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane. 

What Le Graet said about Zidane

Le Graet, who has been president of the FFF since 2011, was heard making disparaging remarks about Zidane while trying to back up current France national team coach, Didier Deschamps. 

Le Graet's overzealous defence of Deschamps landed him in hot water

In his remarks, the former Ligue 1 president said that he did not care where Zidane ended up next as manager and also said he would not even do Zidane the honour of picking up the phone if the World Cup winner called to ask about the national team job. 

Le Graet came under heavy criticism for his words and actions and was widely condemned by players, fans, and politicians before recanting his words and offering an apology to Zidane. 

The damage was already done, however, and Le Graet and the executive committee of the FFF came to a decision for the 81-year-old autocrat to take a step back from his role while investigations continue into his outburst about Zidane and other private matters. 

FFF Statement on Le Graet

In addition to suspending Le Graet, FFF also decided to lay off its general manager, Florence Hardouin, as a precautionary measure. 

In the absence of both Le Graet and Hardouin, the current deputy vice president of the FFF, Philippe Diallo, will take on both roles as acting interim chairman of the body while the search goes on for a successor for both. 

Le Graet (R) on stage as France receive their silver Medal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

The full statement by the executive committee of the FFF is as follows: "Noel Le Graet, in agreement with the executive committee of the FFF meeting today in Paris, has chosen to withdraw from his duties as president of the Federation until the final communication of the audit carried out by the Ministry of Sports and awaiting its analysis by the Comex (executive committee) of the FFF.

"The Comex of the FFF has also decided to lay off Florence Hardouin, general manager of the FFF, as a precautionary measure. As of today, Philippe Diallo, deputy vice president of the FFF, will act as interim manager of these two functions.”

It remains to be seen whether this will spell the of Le Graet's long career in French football, but the odds are not in his favour regarding a possible return, with former French player and manager, Michel Platini rumoured as a likely candidate to take over the reins of the FFF. 

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