Footballers and fans had called for the head of France’s Football Federation to resign after his remarks
French Football Federation President Noel Le Graet has stepped down following a meeting on Wednesday, the federation announced.
“Noel 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,” the federation said.
The suspension comes a day after he apologised for “awkward remarks” about French icon Zinedine Zidane, which quickly outraged players, country officials, and football clubs.
“As of today, Philippe Diallo, deputy vice president of the FFF, will assume interim management of these two roles,” the federation added.
In an interview with French RMC on Sunday, Le Graet said he wouldn’t pick up the phone if Zidane were to call.
“He (Zidane) does what he wants, it’s none of my business. I’ve never met him, we’ve never considered parting with Didier. He can go where he wants, to a club… If Zidane tried to contact me? Certainly not, I wouldn’t even pick up the phone,” the 81-year-old said when asked whether Zidane had called him to express an interest in taking over as national coach.
The interview with RMC Sport came after the FFF announced head coach Didier Deschamps’s contract extension after he led the country to a second consecutive World Cup final.
Le Graet has been president of the federation since 2011, and his appointment was to run until 2024.
In addition to the crisis, La Graet has faced claims of sexual harassment, which he currently denies.
One slip too many, the French Sports minister Amelie Oudea Castera has been investigating La Graet for his actions.
“A president has to embody a certain number of imposed patterns. And I think that he is profoundly lacking in one of them, which is representation and embodiment. And as it’s the first French sports federation, it is very problematic,” Castera said on La Graet.