The crisis at the French Football Federation turns into a standoff between resigning President Noël Le Graët and Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who on Wednesday denied having “lied” while the lawyers of the ousted leader want to attack the Minister of Sports in “defamation “.
A few hours after the departure of the Breton (81 years old), his lawyer Thierry Marembert had fired red balls on Tuesday at “AOC”, announcing on France 5, his intention to “sue for defamation before the Court of Justice of the Republic” and asking for the “cancellation” of the audit report of the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research (IGESR), damning for the one who led the French Football Federation from 2011 to 2023.
According to the leader’s lawyer, the IGESR inspectors “were manipulated, forced by their minister”, pointing to a difference between the summary of the report, published on February 15 and which referred to the sending of “ambiguous SMS for some and of a clearly sexual nature for others”, and the entire document, never made public.
Asked on Wednesday on RTL, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra strongly defended the IGESR inspectors.
“We did a thorough four-month work, respecting the contradictory of each of the parties (…)”, she said, and “I will not allow the quality of the work that has been done to be denigrated” .
“I find it distressing, I never insulted anyone, I remained polite, I never accused him of harassment”, she also said, recalling that a preliminary investigation had been opened for moral harassment and sexual against the former president of the FFF.
“This defense strategy does not fool many people (…)”, she added in response to Noël Le Graët, who had estimated Tuesday in Le Monde to be the victim of a “well-organized politico-media cabal ” and had denounced “numerous political interferences, in particular by the Minister of Sports who violated her obligation of impartiality.”
– Sonia Souid persists and signs –
The FFF, targeted in the audit for its policy of combating gender-based and sexual violence, had also pointed to Tuesday “a disproportionate denigration of the body” and regretted a “lack of real contradictory procedure”.
Requested by AFP, the Ministry of Sports refuses for the moment to make public the entire report and refutes the thesis of a biased synthesis, put forward by the Graët camp.
According to an extract from the report, consulted by AFP, the mission noted “a small number of writings (SMS in particular) produced by Mr. Le Graët, using ambiguous formulations that could receive different interpretations and a vocabulary containing no term to sexual character”.
Players’ agent Sonia Souid, whose testimony in the press had accelerated the fall of the all-powerful boss of the FFF, for her part drove the point home on Wednesday, persisting in her accusations.
“Yes, Noël Le Graët behaved very inappropriately. What I told the inspectors was that what I felt was indeed a form of harassment. I suffered a form of harassment. He has to assume,” she told AFP, denying having been “remotely guided”.
Despite the media storm around his case and his disgrace, Noël Le Graët has absolutely no intention of erasing himself from the world of football. Appointed in January 2022 delegate in Paris of the president of the International Football Federation Gianni Infantino, a function hitherto honorary, he intends to “invest” in it fully.
“I will take over the management of the Parisian annex of Fifa, at the Hôtel de la Marine, from next week”, he explained to the Team.