West News Wire: Noel Le Grat, president of the French Soccer Federation, resigned on Tuesday after a government assessment determined that his managerial style and behavior toward women rendered him ineligible for office.
Le Grat, 81, is being investigated by the law for alleged sexual and moral harassment. He had already left his position till the executive committee of the federation had looked over the audit’s results.
According to a federation statement, he handed up his resignation during a meeting of the executive committee on Tuesday.
Le Grat’s responsibilities will be temporarily handled by Federation vice president Philippe Diallo until June 2023, according to the statement.
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, France’s minister of sports, launched the audit into the federation in September amid mounting criticism of Le Grat last year. The audit report, based on more than 100 interviews and analysis of various documents, concluded last month that Le Graët’s behavior toward women was inappropriate, and highlighted other dysfunctions at the federation. It also noted that its policy against gender-based and sexual violence is “neither effective or efficient.”
The federation praised Le Graët’s “remarkable sporting and economic results” as head of the soccer body since 2011. It reiterated its “strong commitment against gender-based and sexual violence” and sought to distance itself from the audit.
Le Graët has had a strong relationship with FIFA president Gianni Infantino and it was unclear on Tuesday what the status was of his two positions at soccer’s world body.
Infantino appointed Le Graët in January 2022 as his personal delegate to FIFA’s satellite office in Paris that includes liaising with member federations in Europe and Africa.
“The French Football Federation is doing a remarkable job,” Infantino said last year in announcing the appointment, “and I often have the opportunity to talk with Noël Le Graët to better understand how the example set here in France can support football development projects on a global basis.”
FIFA did not immediately respond to requests on Tuesday for comment on the issue.
Le Graët is also a candidate to retain his $250,000-a-year seat on FIFA’s ruling council which is elected by UEFA member federations.
Despite the controversy surrounding the French soccer body, Le Graët has not publicly withdrawn his candidacy to stand in an April 5 vote at the UEFA Congress in Lisbon, Portugal. His scheduled opponent is Fernando Gomes, a UEFA vice president from Portugal.