Noël Le Graët has resigned from his position as president of the French Football Federation following his controversial comments about Zinedine Zidane. Le Graët, 81, issued an apology to Zidane and acknowledged that his statements were “clumsy”.
Zidane had been widely speculated to be a leading candidate to take over as head coach of the French national team from Didier Deschamps. Le Graët had previously stated that he would not consider Zidane for the position and had dismissively said “I don’t give a damn, he can go wherever he wants.”
Deschamps, who guided the French national team to victory at the 2018 World Cup and a second-place finish at the recent tournament in Qatar, has been given a new two-year contract extension. However, Le Graët’s dismissive attitude towards Zidane was met with backlash.
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Kylian Mbappé expressed his support for Zidane on Twitter, describing him as a “legend”. Additionally, the chairman of the French Football Federation’s ethics committee, Patrick Anton, called for Le Graët to step down from his position as president.
Le Graët, who has also been facing accusations about his personal behavior, decided to step down at a meeting with the executive committee of the French Football Federation, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation by the Ministry of Sports. The committee also dismissed the general manager, Florence Hardouin and the deputy vice-president, Philippe Diallo will act as interim for both positions . Deschamps, on the other hand, had his contract officially approved.
Statement by French Football Federation
The French Football Federation released a statement that said that In agreement with the executive committee of the FFF, which met today in Paris, Noël Le Graët has chosen to step away from his duties as president of the Federation, pending the conclusion and review of the audit conducted by the Ministry of Sports.
“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.”