Noel Le Graet has resigned as president of France’s Football Federation (FFF), just days after making disparaging remarks about French football legend Zinedine Zidane.
“Noel Le Graet, in agreement with the FFF executive committee gathered today in Paris, has chosen to take a step back from his duties as president of the Federation until the final communication of the audit is carried out by the Ministry of Sports, and pending its analysis by the executive committee of the FFF,” the FFF said in a statement.
Le Graet has been embroiled in a major controversy after making disparaging remarks about French footballer Zinedine Zidane on French radio RMC.
When asked about the possibility of Zidane becoming France’s new head coach, Le Graet stated that if the football star contacted him about potentially replacing current head coach Didier Deschamps, he would not even pick up the phone.
At the weekend, Noel Le Graet gave a radio interview in which he attempted to explain why he had extended Deschamps’ contract and why he had ignored calls for Zidane to take over the job.
When asked if Zidane, a World Cup winner with France in 1998 and a national icon, would now manage Brazil instead, Noel Le Graet he said “I don’t give a damn, he can go wherever he wants.”
Noel Le Graet said on Sunday that Zidane had a lot of support but had no chance of replacing Deschamps.
“Who can make serious reproaches to Deschamps?” he asked. “Nobody. 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 former FFF president was widely chastised for his disparaging remarks about Zidane, who is regarded as a French football legend.
On Sunday, Paris Saint-Germain player Kylian Mbappe took to Twitter to defend Zidane against Le Graet’s remarks. “Zidane is France, we don’t disrespect him like that,” Mbappe Tweeted.
Noel Le Graet later apologized for his comments on Zidane, calling them “clumsy.” In addition to Le Graet’s resignation, the FFF stated that the committee decided to “temporarily lay off” the federation’s General Manager, Florence Hardouin.
Meanwhile, Philippe Dillo, FFF’s Deputy Vice-President, will temporarily assume both positions. The FFF also announced the extension of France’s head coach Didier Deschamps’ contract until 2026.
Noel Le Graet has been involved in a lingering sexual harassment case, according to Reuters, in addition to his offensive comments against Zidane.
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