By Andrew Warshaw
November 14 – The role of women in senior football administration has taken a significant leap with Nathalie Boy de la Tour (pictured) becoming the first female president of the French Professional Football League (LFP), one of the biggest in the European game.
Boy de la Tour, who was also previously a member of the administrative council of the LFP, the governing body of professional football in France, succeeds Frederic Thiriez, who resigned in April.
The 48-year-old said her first task would be to bring “trust and cohesion” back to the French leagues following a series of disputes among clubs in the first and second divisions.
Boy de la Tour beat former French national team coach Raymond Domenech to the post after his candidacy was rejected by two-thirds of the LPF’s General Assembly in the first round of voting. Under Domenech France were 2006 World Cup runners-up but his term as France coach was overshadowed by a players’ revolt at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“It’s a first in France and in the stronghold of world football – proof that in football too, the world has changed!” tweeted Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, one of several hopefuls bidding to succeed Francois Hollande in the 2017 French presidential election, in reaction to Boy de la Tour’s appointment.
Although she had not initially been a candidate, she emerged as a late runner as the LFP, which oversees the 40 professional clubs in France’s top two leagues, sought to bring the various factions together. She has a four-year mandate in the position.
“I’m very happy to be among you, astonished and emotional,” she said. “It is not an election that was expected, now I am extremely happy and I hope to meet expectations.”
French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet welcomed the appointment of “an intelligent woman” who “will calm excessive, sometimes passionate men”.
“She’s someone who knows the functioning of the Federation and League well, she’s full of humanity, wisdom, I think it’s a good choice,” he said.
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