Damning Report Turns Up Heat On Suspended French Football Boss

Pressure mounted on Noel Le Graet to resign as head of French football with the publication Wednesday of a damning report commissioned by the Ministry of Sport.

The 81-year-old has been suspended as President of the French Football Federation (FFF) since January.

The report, by the French General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research, said Le Graet should not return because his “behavioural excesses are incompatible with the exercise of his functions.”

Respecting “the autonomy of sporting federations”, which football world governing body FIFA vigorously defends, France’s Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera has not directly called for Le Graet to resign the post he has held since 2011.

But, she said, “the situation is clear and everyone knows what I think”.

“Given the failures in governance, his seriously inappropriate behaviour towards women, I can only agree with the conclusion of the report: he no longer has the legitimacy to administer and represent French soccer,” Oudea-Castera told a press conference.

Le Graet has been under pressure since he made dismissive remarks in a radio interview about France legend Zinedine Zidane’s potential interest in coaching the national team.

The commission, which interviewed more than 100 witnesses, also focused on “inappropriate behaviour” towards women.

It said “the inappropriate and offensive nature of Mr. Le Graet’s remarks may be accentuated by excessive alcohol consumption.”

Sources inside the FFF told AFP that Le Graet was stunned, considering himself innocent and reluctant to let go.

Le Graet is scheduled to announce his decision at a planned emergency meeting of the FFF’s executive committee. Should he refuse to resign, the committee could all quit themselves forcing elections.