French Olympic Committee: 14 months before the Paris Olympics, Brigitte Henriques throws in the towel | TV5MONDE

Less than two years after her election, the president of the French Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) Brigitte Henriques resigned from her post on Thursday, a coup de theater fourteen months before the Paris Olympics to try to save an institution plunged into crisis since over a year and a half.

“She no longer had a choice”, reacted to AFP a president of a federation present in the hall of the Maison du sport français during a general assembly which was eagerly awaited and during which Brigitte Henriques announced her resignation.

Internal conflicts and rivalries got the better of the former vice-president of the French Football Federation (FFF), 51, in open war for months with her predecessor Denis Masseglia, and who faced a core of opponents .

“The situation was no longer tenable, she made the right choice”, reacted another president of the federation after the surprise announcement of the president of the CNOSF, a body which brings together more than a hundred French federations, represents the IOC in France and has only a minor role in the organization of the 2024 Olympics (July 26-August 11).

After the opening speech by the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, saying that she was concerned with “bringing back serenity and the collective interest”, the president then spoke to the members of the CNOSF.

She detailed the results of her action before announcing her resignation which will be effective on June 29, a scenario that few had predicted, as Brigitte Henriques had repeated that she would not consider resigning despite the many episodes of crises that have marked her term of office.

“Old World Victory”

The secretary general of the body Astrid Guyart will now take over until the election of a new president “in the next three months”, specifies a press release from the CNOSF.

This resignation should open a new page for an institution crossed for more than a year and a half by many turbulences, between complaints, threats of complaints, low blows and revelations of exchanges of emails in the press…

The eviction in September 2022 of Henriques’ former right-hand man, Didier Seminet, had triggered this deep crisis from which the institution never really recovered.

At the end of 2022, the president had retired for several weeks to rest, very affected by this situation. But on his return, the climate has not changed and it has even worsened considerably in recent days with the announcement by Denis Masseglia of an upcoming complaint to the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) for breach of trust targeting the mandate of Brigitte Henriques.

Brigitte Henriques and Didier Séminet had filed a complaint against each other, leading to the opening at the end of March of two investigations by the Paris prosecutor’s office and entrusted to the Paris judicial police.

“Denis (Masseglia) has + killed +, as he had done before with other women, it is the victory of the old world”, reacted in a text message to AFP a source within the entourage of the former president.

Brigitte Henriques’ lawyer, Me Arash Derambarsh, believes for his part that his client “has never ceased to be harassed and defamed during her mandate”: “I regret that the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra never firmly and openly supported my client when she was the victim of violence”

Low blow

The proximity to the Paris Olympics and this never-ending crisis worry many players in French sport.

The French Olympic Committee must “come together” and “bounce back”, reacted the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, in a statement to AFP.

“There is no winner today”, she said but there can be “a victory, that of the ethical and democratic leap”, she added, specifying that she invited the ministry the executive office of the body “Tuesday evening” in order to “take stock”.

“We have never experienced such a crisis in this house, the federation presidents are generally fed up with this very bad soap opera which is degrading the image of French sport almost a year before the Olympics”, had confided to the AFP a federation president before the general assembly.

Philippe Bana, the president of the French Handball Federation, hailed him “a courageous decision which will undoubtedly reduce the ongoing conflicts”: “We were in an endless spiral, we must hope that the tensions subside”, he told AFP.

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