FFF: Weakened, Le Gräet remains unclear about his future and could leave before the end of his term

FFF: Weakened, Le Gräet remains unclear about his future and could leave before the end of his term

Ten weeks before the World Cup in Qatar, the FFF is going through a turbulent period. President Noël Le Graët, whose mandate runs until 2024, questions his future as head of the institution after the World Cup.

The president of the FFF has suffered a lot of criticism since the publication of the investigation by our colleagues at So Foot. He spoke informally on the phone last Friday with Amélie Oudéa-Castera at the request of the Sports Minister who wanted in particular some clarification on the revelation of the sexist SMS cited in the investigation and especially to hear Noël Le Graët’s version.

If nothing has been leaked and although the Ministry refuses to confirm the interview, this article has sown disorder, reinforced the unrest that reigns on the Boulevard de Grenelle and aroused the roar of much of the amateur world that felt, for many months , away from the operation and practices within the federation. This Friday, the Sports Ministry wants to go further by physically “inviting” the president of the FFF and its general manager, Florence Hardouin, to officially discuss the World Cup in Qatar, the problems of the fans, but also and above all the investigation. by SoFoot.

The rumor of an exit after the World Cup

For employees, nothing new. So Foot’s post did not bring any revelations. “He just got hot,” an employee confided to us. They already knew but they didn’t say words. During the staff seminar attended by NLG last Thursday at Clairefontaine, some commented on the content of the article and the president acted as if nothing had happened. A boss with fragile health. On Wednesday, September 7, he received the European Under-17 champions from last summer and, in front of the squad and the players present, he congratulated them on several occasions for their title… World! This caused astonishment and some smiles from those present. “A simple slip” they tell the FFF. During his speech last Saturday in Caen for the congress of the ANPDF (the association of district presidents), he lost his balance on the desk during his speech. “We had a man in front of us, a tired leader in his 80s,” said one of the audience members.

Noël Le Graët, on this occasion, questioned his future as head of the FFF. The rumor in the midst of amateur and even professional football points to a possible resignation of what he is nicknamed “the Breton Napoleon” during the federal assembly that was postponed on January 7 due to the World Cup in Qatar. This meeting of district presidents was the moment chosen by “NLG” to slip a sentence with barely concealed words: “If France wins the World Cup, everyone will be happy. If they lose, it will be the opposite. Not regardless of the result, it can alter the future of the presidency of the FFF.

Some members of his entourage summarize the situation by saying: “if he smiles in Qatar, he will complete his mandate, if not, he will weaken.” At the end of the General Assembly, all the district presidents did not fail to return to this passage from Le Graët’s speech. “It felt like a confession rather than an official statement,” said one. For another “the message was clear, after the World Cup he will leave.” A third finally does not interpret it in the same way: “For me, he plays, he has fun with the situation, he flips a coin and it works, people talk about it.”

There is no more left for his possible succession to emerge in the discussions. Because it is within the Executive Committee of the FFF that his successor would be appointed in the event of interim presidency until 2024, with two files to quickly manage: the future of the Blues coach and that of the CEO Florence Hardouin. heavily criticized by employees and elected officials.

A name keeps coming back

The course of the French team in Qatar will obviously play a role in Noël Le Graët’s final decision, he keeps repeating it in private. At the moment, as a politician, he listens to what is said and in particular the “appetites” that this opens. On the other hand, it is not about disturbing the preparation of the World Cup for the coach and the players, especially since it will not be easy with a tight schedule and many uncertainties linked to the currently injured players. The truth is that he would see himself leaving his place with a third star.

Be that as it may, the negotiations have already begun and a name comes up insistently. That of Philippe Diallo who comes from the professional world. Current president of COSMOS, an employers’ organization representing employers and companies in sport. He was the general manager of UCPF, a former union of presidents of professional soccer clubs. A hard worker, well established in political circles, he has established himself as Deputy Vice President since Brigitte Henriques’ departure from the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). He is, above all, responsible for the institution’s finances. He is highly regarded by both employees and amateur soccer coaches. He could be a perfect link after Le Graët, except that he was recently reframed by the president himself who blames him for a sudden ambition that he considers clumsy.

Noël Le Graët’s favorite has always been Marc Keller. The president of Strasbourg is part of all the projects of the president. His only problem, but it is a big one, is that he is still in charge of the Alsatian club. He would have to sell the club. He almost passed last spring, but for now he can’t log out, which complicates things. A former professional and international player, Marc Keller has the ideal profile, Noël Le Graët is convinced. Other suitors could arise within the Executive Committee, such as Jamel Sandjak. The former president of the powerful Ligue de Paris IDF has the advantage of benefiting from the amateur world. He constantly discusses through a WhatsApp group with the presidents of Leagues in France. For the time being, he watches and stays very close to Noël Le Graët having understood that the man is tired and that we must not forget what he has brought to the amateur world. In any case, the future president will have to get comfortable in the priority place after the World Cup: the coaching job.

Deschamps attentive observer

There are two options: enter negotiations with Didier Deschamps for an extension or look for his successor with Zinedine Zidane as the number one favourite. The current boss of the Blues is closely following the evolution of the situation, although his priority is to prepare as calmly and professionally as possible for the World Cup. His concern at the moment lies mainly in the state of health of his managers, many of whom are injured (Pogba, Kanté, Benzema).

Despite the questions of the summer of 2021 after the failure of the European Championship, Deschamps remained very close to Le Graët. If the latter “drops the case”, this would bring an additional element to his thinking. The World Cup will in any case be decisive for the future of French football, at the dawn of a cycle ending that worries the amateur world, impatient to see the federative institution evolve towards a more modern governance where it would feel better represented.

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