sexist attitude, lost legitimacy… the audit overwhelms Noël Le Graët

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The pre-report of the audit on the French Football Federation (FFF) commissioned by the Ministry of Sports was sent this Monday to Noël Le Graët and Florence Hardouin. If the most severe details have not leaked, the two leaders and the Comex have been particularly criticized, according to several media including L’Equipe and RMC Sport.

The president of the FFF, withdrawn on January 11, is strongly undermined in this report. The mission of the General Inspectorate for Education, Sport and Research (IGESR) thus considers that “given its behavior towards women, its declarations towards women, its public declarations and the failures of the governance of the FFF, Mr. Le Graët no longer has the necessary legitimacy to administer and represent French football. »

A problematic attitude with women

Indeed, his problematic attitude towards the fairer sex has been particularly highlighted. “For two years, the positions of Mr. Le Graët have been out of step with the requirements of exemplary behavior incumbent on a president of a sports federation benefiting from a delegation contract with the State. (…) The hearings conducted by the mission brought to light a problematic attitude of Mr. Le Graët towards women which can be qualified at the very least as sexist”, can we read in this report.

In addition, according to the mission, the testimony of players’ agent Sonia Souid made it possible to free up the floor since some people who had already been heard wanted to complete their statements.

Florence Hardouin supporter of “sexist jokes and a coarse vocabulary”

The director general of the FFF Florence Hardouin is not spared from the audit either. Regarding the “failure of the FFF’s governance”, several people interviewed described a “sexist and violent atmosphere reigned within the FFF’s steering committee until 2020. It is expressed through sexist, heavy and recurring jokes , by expressions of contempt between directors, by the use of coarse language and by the exchange of insults. The passivity of the general manager marked those present”, is it written in the report which also highlighted its problems of competence.

Thus, while the people interviewed highlighted her skills, they were more reserved “about her cross-cutting skills necessary for a balanced exercise of the function of general manager”. One of them also felt that Ms. Hardouin “is not very interested in certain areas such as amateur football and training and does not seek to improve her skills in this area”. During her hearing, the executive laid off as a precaution recognized “a directive personality”.

On the other hand, the mission qualifies its remarks concerning moral harassment. “If the management of Mrs. Hardouin can be described as brutal, there is no reason to qualify it as harassing”, it is estimated.

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A toxic and dependent relationship between Hardouin and Le Graët

The mission, which proposes 18 recommendations to the FFF, also pinpoints the body’s policy in terms of preventing and combating gender-based and sexual violence, which “is not a priority deployed rationally by the FFF in the territories” , according to her.

Thus, the policy to combat sexist and sexual violence is “neither effective nor efficient”. The hearings have also confirmed a “climate of ambient machismo mainly by the oldest staff of the FFF”. In addition, freedom of speech would be particularly limited due to a strongly present “omerta” within the federation.

Added to this are management problems. If the audit draws a positive balance sheet from the duo between Noël Le Graët and Florence Hardouin, the latter exercises power “more like a business manager comparable to a CEO, than like a president of an association”. Thus, the 81-year-old leader leaves “direct access” from certain directors who generate “clan logic which may have been the cause of several FFF crises”.

In reality, their relationship appears to be particularly toxic because it “is characterized by great variability over time and by a form of reciprocal dependence between them”, can we read in the report. “The president-director general couple has reached its limits,” say the IGESR listeners, evoking a “very self-centered vision of power”.

The FFF will speak after the delivery of the final audit

Finally, the “dysfunctions were accentuated at the time of the 2018 World Cup, a period during which the general manager will concentrate powers greater than those usually exercised for similar functions in other important sports federations”, is it also written.

The two leaders have ten days to defend themselves, their future will undoubtedly be played out over the next few days, before the publication of the definitive and contradictory document, expected in mid-February. The FFF “will not communicate its own conclusions and decisions after the delivery of the final audit commissioned by the Ministry of Sports”, reacted the body in a press release.

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