Former head of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët, recently found himself on the hot seat, fielding questions from an inquiry commission investigating dysfunction within several sports federations.
Departure and Replacement
Le Graët bowed out of the FFF in January 2023, making way for Philippe Diallo. His departure happened amidst a swirl of several accusations, including harassment. This led to the establishment of the inquiry commission.
Le Graët is alleged to have behaved inappropriately towards several women, allegations he vehemently denies. In preparing his defense, he argued against claims of homophobia in stadiums and inappropriate behavior. Le Graët claimed he was not aware of the accusations and suggested there were misunderstandings about what he stood accused of.
Addressing Media Backlash
He referred to the media backlash against him as undeserved and reiterated his innocence. His legal team sought to further protect his reputation by requesting that the audit report be invalidated and contested.
Different Stance on Homophobia
In relation to the homophobic acts in football stadiums, Le Graët admitted he had made past errors in his statements. He has since changed his stance, acknowledging the need to halt more matches due to such acts.
Women in Football
Le Graët maintained that he always treated his female colleagues with respect throughout his career. He credited himself with promoting women to top positions within the federation and aiding in the development of women's football. However, he did admit to potential past missteps, such as making inappropriate jokes.
Adapting to Changing Times
He acknowledged the changing societal norms and recognized the need for greater sensitivity. Notwithstanding, he strongly condemned legal actions against him. It was noted there was a large discrepancy between the accusations leveled against him and his responses.
The investigation surrounding the alleged dysfunction within the FFF is still in progress.