January 18 – Having stepped down from the French Football Federation (FFF), veteran football official Noel Le Graet is now the subject of an investigation over alleged moral and sexual harassment, the office of the Paris prosecutor said.
Le Graet has previously denied accusations of harassment during an audit commissioned by the sports ministry last September when the FFF said it would seek legal action against football magazine So Foot, which had reported that Le Graet allegedly harassed several female employees.
He has subsequently been accused of harassment by a female football agent.
The longstanding French FA president has been the subject of continued controversy in France. He came under fire for criticising 1998 World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane and even though he apologised his role became untenable when a female football agent accused him of further unwanted sexual advances.
In a statement, the FFF said 81-year-old Le Graet “in agreement with the FFF executive committee gathered today in Paris, has chosen to step down from his role as president until the completion of the audit performed by the sports ministry.”
Le Graet has been replaced on an interim basis by FFF vice-president Philippe Diallo. A strong ally of FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, Le Graet is also a member of the FIFA Council and is seeking reelection though his position in the council must be now be in doubt, not least because he will need to pass FIFA’s eligibility checks.
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