By Andrew Warshaw
March 1 – Disgraced former French FA president Noel Le Graet looks as if he will still be given carte blanche by FIFA to oversee its office in Paris despite being forced to resign over a series of allegations including sexual misconduct.
In a remarkable (some might say staggering) move, it appears the FIFA hierarchy could turn a blind eye to Le Graet’s misdeamenours and allow him to be Gianni Infantino’s delegate to run the Paris office.
In late January, attending a meeting of the French Football Federation’s executive committee, Infantino lavished praise on Le Graet who, as member of FIFA’s all-powerful Council, is among the FIFA president’s inner circle.
The pair have maintained an especially strong relationship after Le Graet was one of few European FA bosses to publicly back Infantino’s plans to stage the World Cup every two years.
It now appears, despite a damning French sports ministry audit that ruled Le Graet “no longer has the necessary legitimacy to run and represent French football,” that he does have the legitimacy to carry on working for FIFA.
Several members of the FFF’s executive committee said after the meeting on Tuesday when Le Graet announced he was standing down after 11 years in charge that he would maintain his links with FIFA in the French capital.
One of them, Eric Borghini, was quoted as saying that Le Graet had originally been given the job by Infantino because of his expertise.
“The president was named to FIFA by Gianni Infantino. He is going to run the office in Paris. He was given the job because of his competence, his expertise and his experience,” Borghini said.
Meanwhile Le Graet continues to refute all the allegations against him saying some FFF executive committee members “shed a little tear” when he bowed to the pressure and agreed to step down.
“I feel comfortable in my skin,” the 81-year-old was quoted as saying claiming he was “very well viewed” by many of his now former employees.
“I have never harassed anyone, neither morally nor sexually. I am surprised by this whole cabal. I don’t know who’s behind it, but I’ll find out eventually.”
“My lawyers will challenge the irregularity of the administrative investigation within the Federation and will request the cancellation of the report of the fact-finding mission.
“The investigation of which I was the subject was carried out against, in total disregard of my rights.”
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