French football seems on the edge of the abyss. Crises follow business. Naturally impossible to compare the racket suffered by Paul Pogba with the FFF institution which falters. However, the whole draws a very unpleasant picture of the small world of football, as if he was having fun sticking to the caricatures that some make of him. A bit also as if the end of illusions sounded. And wait, the World Cup in Qatar is coming…


You probably haven’t heard of this story. The walls of the CNOSF, the venerable Olympic house of French sport, tremble with an internal war unknown until now. The FFF is therefore not the only one to waver. Except that once again, football is not far away. Indeed for the first time, a soccer player, and in this case a soccer player, took over the management: Brigitte Henriques, a former vice-president of this brave Noël Le Graët. And she has just decided to get rid of her right arm, Didier Séminet, an old-timer in the tricolor Olympism. However, he denounces in return, in a letter to the members of the CA, a progressive seizure, “targeted recruitment and the risk of a certain form of single thought, not to say single culture, taking hold” . In particular, he points the finger at a new CEO who “Worked for FIFA at the time of the Women’s Football World Cup organized in France in 2019. She therefore comes from the world of football, just like the recruited DAF who is a former employee of the FFF. (…) What could not be heard or understood last Monday takes on unexpected relief today in view of the events that are shaking the FFF. » The scandals which affect the latter obviously touch, by rebound, Brigitte Henriques who was a leader, targeted for example by Romain Molina who accuses her of having contributed to the omerta which reigned there around sexual assaults, in particular on minors . She strongly defended it on Europe 1, claiming to have always fought this “plague” .

Football is not a reflection of society, it is an actor

Has football once again become the scarecrow of French sport? It is true that the spectacle offered by the FFF leaves you speechless. For its employees sacrificed by a largely avoidable redundancy plan. For a completely forgotten amateur football. For a governance that seems weakened to the extreme. The summons by the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra had nothing to do with an exchange of courtesy. “I don’t receive them to have tea, I don’t receive them to be told that everything is fine. I receive them because I need to listen to what they have to say to me” . This close friend of Emmanuel Macron was appointed to put French sport back in battle order. Two months from a World Cup and two years from the Olympic Games in Paris, the sites are multiplying and it is impossible to let football drift. Especially since this World Cup in Qatar will be played shrouded in nagging guilt (human rights, ecology, etc.) of public opinion. The Blues will also be scrutinized in this regard. Even the most loyal supporters are confused. Fabien Bonnel, founding member of Les Irrésistibles Français, explained in France Info’s Talk on Twitch that he had “decided to condemn this World Cup” . To face this storm, it would have been solid, heavy, insurance. Instead, the FFF gave in to Kylian Mbappé in a few hours, in order to put out a new fire among the Blues as quickly as possible.

Naturally, it is impossible to put on the same level the legal cases which jostle the news, and which however also rub off on the general atmosphere. Especially since the racketeering attempts of which Paul Pogba would be the victim or the recent indictments around the attack on Kheira Hamraoui do not proceed from the same register. They are not specific to football. Fame and wealth often twist those around you. Britney Spears’ father has long robbed him of his income, he at least had covered himself with the law to commit his misdeed. Sporting rivalries have already sometimes slipped into irrational violence. The oldest will remember Tonya Harding in figure skating. Precisely, if we must learn a lesson from these dark hours, it refers to this evidence: football is not a reflection of society, it is an actor, and important now. He espouses its gray areas, issues and power struggles. The end of an innocence that ultimately never existed. Football is not just child’s play.

By Nicolas Kssis-Martov


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Peggy McColl

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