France football chief steps down amid Zidane remarks backlash, probe

Paris, Jan 11 (EFE).- The president of the French football federation Noël Le Graët, whose remarks about Zinedine Zidane prompted a public backlash earlier this week, is to step down from his role.

The FFF said in a statement Wednesday that the 81-year-old had agreed to step aside until the details of a probe by the country’s sports ministry into alleged mismanagement in the organization and sexual harassment allegations made against the Le Graët, are published.

The FFF’s director general Florence Hardouin was also relieved of her post.

The organization’s former number two Philippe Diallo will temporarily cover both roles, the FFF said.

The deal Saturday to extend France head coach Didier Deschamps’ contract to 2026 – until the next World Cup – was supported unanimously by the extraordinary meeting of the FFF’s executive committee, the organization added.

Le Graët sparked criticism when comments he made during a radio interview with channel RMC on Sunday were widely construed as disrespectful toward Zidane, a World Cup winner with France and a Real Madrid legend.

Pressed for his opinion on Zidane’s chances of managing Brazil after the France job was taken, Le Graët said that he did not “give a damn, he can go where he wants,” adding that he “wouldn’t even pick up the phone” to Zidane if the former player had called to discuss the role of France coach.

Faced with a hail of criticism coming from the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Real Madrid and even the French government, Le Graët offered his apologies the following day, saying his “awkward remarks” may have been misunderstood and insisting that he held Zidane in high regard. EFE


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