Check return, separation from Le Graët, financial audit to come… FFF starts 10 days under very high tension

The inspectors responsible for the inspection at the French Football Federation are handing over the document ordered by the Sports Ministry in September to various interested parties this Monday. To complete this “controversial” part, the protagonists will be given ten days to comment. This report is eagerly awaited and could have serious consequences for the first sports federation in France. Behind the scenes, a media response is being prepared from all sides.

He’s surrounded, but he’s still playing the clock. His vacations in Martinique will not have the skin of files, rumors about him and media noise. Noël Le Graet has been through a period of intense turbulence since its full Moon launch on the RMC antenna in early January. His fall is inevitable, history remains to be seen. Breton, 81, who has been in office since 2011, still clings to his seat some days. Since the beginning of January, the pressure has been so strong that some relatives are worried about his health.

The audit report is scheduled to be delivered to various stakeholders this Monday by mail and electronically. The inspectors in charge of this investigation will have to wait about ten days to consider the observations of Noel Le Graet, Florence Hardouin and other interested parties. Therefore, the final presentation is expected on February 15. As soon as this final audit is revealed, major maneuvers within the FFF can begin.

After the audit, a more insulting COMEX to force Le Graët to resign?

After studying this audit, we understand that COMEX members will seek the resignation of Noel Le Graet at the Federation’s next Executive Committee, announced on February 9 (may be postponed due to the audit, editor’s note). ). The report will be difficult for FFF president (withdrawn) and its general manager Florence Hardwin. “NLG” has promised to resign if the report is always damning. Within hours, some media announced that he was ready to step down… but not at any price. In general, the family understood that he should stop.

Without this “court” of inspection, Noël Le Graet could have held out little hope of a way out. The triggering of Article 40 by Inspector General for Education, Sport and Research was the final blow. The Breton leader denies all the charges brought against him. According to our information, IGESR first gave a note to the Paris prosecutor’s office to describe the facts that could cause condemnation in the hearings they have been conducting for several weeks. In the second stage, the inspectors brought statements to confirm the alleged facts. A judicial source says that this opening of the investigation concerns the FFF as a whole, the investigators are not limited in their investigation to the name of Noël Le Graet.

Also, according to the information we received, the prosecutor’s office started an investigation under the article “sexual and moral pressure”, taking into account that sexist insults can be repeated and in this case they constitute pressure. Magistrates’ aim is now to see if it constitutes “a system of moral and sexual harassment in the context of work”.

For several days, the leader’s defense has been preparing for his counterattack. Leaks, statements or even repeated speeches of the Minister of Sports are annoying. In a press release sent to BFMTV by his two lawyers, Noel Le Graet denied “all criminal charges” against him. He condemned the “repeated statements of the meddling press” while the audit has not yet produced its results. The inspectors’ report of January 13 is also misunderstood by the Le Graet clan. According to the FFF president, on January 10, the inspector in charge of the inspection would make it very clear that there was nothing in the file regarding possible criminal charges. Clan Breton wonders how IGESR will report to justice three days later. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Sonia Souid testified before the investigators in charge of the case. A statement that BFMTV already demonstrated on its antenna on January 9. This story especially offended the members of the Executive Committee of the Federation.

A new audit of FFF’s finances?

One audit may hide another. Both in person and in front of the cameras, Federation leaders boast about the body’s good financial health. Last year, the income of the institution reached a record level: 274 million euros. In addition, some elements will require further investigation in the coming months. The main mission of the audit conducted at FFF in recent weeks was to review the institution’s management (allegations of sexual abuse uncovered by management and our colleagues at So Foot). A few days ago, during a press briefing, the Minister of Sports announced the extension of the inspectors’ scope of activity: “Taking into account the investigations already conducted and the findings compiled by the mission, we made a decision on this. Open another part of this mission that will deal with human resources, budget and financial aspects.

IGESR inspectors will discuss this topic in the audit they presented on Monday. Moreover, these officials do not have sufficiently advanced financial skills to review all actions of the FFF. According to our information, a new audit should be required in the coming weeks to shed light on FFF’s financial management in recent years. The Court of Auditors presented a report on the management of the Federation to 2.1 million license holders in 2017.

The workers do not forget Florence Hardwin

The climate in the Federation had been tense for several months now. “It’s like a row, a beautiful war of clans,” says an employee of the Boulevard de Grenelle in recent weeks. An audit by inspectors from the Inspector General for Education, Sport and Research is expected to “highlight a completely outdated management method”. Many employees testified before the investigators. “We are looking forward to the release of this audit, I hope it will be before then, explains the head of 3F. So, yes, we have been rightly hitting Le Graët for a few weeks, but we also want to see what this audit is We want to. Florence is on standby for Hardow’s people management. It’s hard to live with a layoff, she’s going through what she’s done to a few of our colleagues.” According to our information, Florence Harduin will be accepted for an interview at FFF before she is fired at the end of February.

The climate is harmful. To the surprise of some employees, only one report was issued by the inspectorate responsible for the audit. Others wonder if the labor inspectorate will be able to intervene in the coming weeks. Philippe Diallo’s speech after his appointment on Thursday did not reassure the FFF’s 300 employees. In general, employees have only one idea in mind: to get out of FFF as soon as possible. Some seek advice from employees who have already left their jobs, while others scrutinize job offers. These dysfunctions within the Federation were mainly highlighted in the September 2020 audit of the management of the FFF by our colleagues around the world. Recently in Le Monde, Florence Hardouin said that she was the victim of “moral and sexual harassment” before the investigators.

And now?

Indoors, Leagues and Districts await. Knives are being sharpened in the kitchen, many of them want to put their menu on the FFF menu. No one in the Executive Committee of the organization wants to follow him in the fall of “NLG”. On the other hand, the little sentence of committee member Vincent Labrune catches: “The status quo cannot be the solution for the FFF”. A more democratic and collegial organization appears to be a short-term solution. The idea could be to continue with Philippe Diallo as head of the Federation until the end of the current mandate in 2024. But the organization must change. “Democratization” of Comex is envisaged.

A clear mission for each member, one for amateur clubs, another for professionals and the French team… This idea, supported by a Comex member, could hold water on one condition: everyone should stay put and not play. his personal card. A more collegial organization, as some still haven’t digested the options without consulting Didier Deschamps at the helm of the Blues or Noël Le Graët on Corinne Deacon’s extension after the Euros. A man behind the scenes will also have his say: Vincent Labrune. The LFP president is an ex officio member of Comex with no electoral ambitions, but his opinion is taken into account. The latter wants the true professionalization of France’s first sports federation. Therefore, a profile close to the professional world seems to be the best solution. It remains to convince the amateur world.

What profile to lead FFF?

If, as the Sports Minister expects, the audit report is indeed damning for Le Graet to resign, Diallo will extend his interim until the next FFF GA on June 10, 2023. The day before this GA, the executive committee will choose one of the following: among its members, it can run for president until the end of the current term, i.e. until 2024. Apart from Philippe Diallo, who is looking to further extend his tenure, several names could be in the running for the coveted seat.

Mark Keller : He was the king’s favorite to take over the helm of the French Football Federation in 2024. This June’s General Assembly is too tight for him. Strasbourg is not in the best position in Ligue 1, it is impossible to sell your club in this situation and after a few weeks. The Alsatian, who has been a member of the FFF’s executive committee since 2016, will play a behind-the-scenes role.

Jean Michel Aulas : The strong player of Olympique Lyonnais has been hit by many people for several weeks. League heads, counties, 3F can be seen as the perfect profile to get the head. However, he reiterates throughout the interview that he does not want this place. If Aulas wants to lead the FFF, he will also have to speed up his departure from OL. He will play a role because he is very well respected within comex.

Philip Diallo : Since January 11, he has been piloting the French Football Federation. He is the overwhelming favorite to finish Noël Le Graet’s mandate in the event of Breton’s resignation. Even if there is no consensus in the executive committee of the FFF, Philippe Diallo knows the Federation’s backstage very well. He maintains the image of a record man.

Jamel Sandjak: An outsider with ambitions. Close to the amateur world and a former rival of Noël Le Graet, Sandjack could play a role if new FFF elections are held in the coming months. Since June? with? He has always played the respect card with “NLG”.

Eric Borghini: The president of the Mediterranean League can be seen from the outside, introducing himself to the general public in his post-comex talks since the beginning of January.

These profiles will speak for the continuation of the mandate and the management of the institution, because no one imagines the possibility of a collective resignation. On the other hand, if the comex is forced to leave, the list could be (much) larger. It remains to know the date and the scenario.

Jean Resseguié, Nicolas Pelletier and Loic Briley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *