(Reuters) – French football federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet is ‘taking a step back’ from his duties and vice president Philippe Diallo was named acting interim chairman, the FFF said on Wednesday.
“Noel Le Graet, in agreement with the FFF Executive Committee meeting in Paris today, has decided to take a step back from his duties as president of the federation until the audit commissioned by the Ministry of Sports has been definitively communicated, and pending its analysis by the FFF’s Executive Committee,” the FFF said in a statement following an urgent meeting of its executive committee.
Le Graet, 81, has been accused of sexual harassment, which he has denied, and has also come under fire from players and politicians for criticising French soccer icon and 1998 World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane.
He was also criticised for extending France coach Didier Deschamps’s contract until 2026, two years after his term at the head of the FFF expires.
The FFF added that the contract has been validated by the executive committee on Wednesday.
Le Graet, the former mayor of Guingamp and ex-president of the western town’s football club that under his guidance won the 2009 French Cup, took office in 2011.
The FFF added that general director Florence Hardouin was ‘provisionally suspended’, with Diallo also taking charge of her role on an interim basis.
Last September, the Sports ministry ordered an audit of the federation the FFF said it would file a defamation lawsuit against So Foot magazine, which reported that Le Graet allegedly harassed several female employees.