Le Graët's replacement at French football federation urges staff to keep calm

AP - Michel Euler

Philippe Diallo, the man who replaced Noël Le Graët,as French football's most powerful administrator, on Thursday called on staff at the Federation française de football (FFF) to maintain their calm despite the stormy four days since Le Graet's reign fell apart following a radio interview in which he disparaged former France international Zinedine Zidane.

Diallo, 59, told employees gathered in the main auditorium at the FFF offices in central Paris: "I know this is a difficult time for you. But I ask you to continue to work in confidence."

During his 30-minute address he said he would be in charge of the FFF at least until the end of the month when an audit of the FFF's management practices is expected to be completed.

"Depending on the conclusions of the audit, decisions will be taken," he added.

The federation will have two weeks to respond to the investigators' findings.

Chaos

The FFF - which has organised the country's domestic and international football games since 1919 - was thrown into turmoil on Sunday night.

Asked on RMC whether Zidane had contacted the FFF about possibly replacing Didier Deschamps as head coach of the France national team, Le Graët responded: "I wouldn't even have taken his call on the phone.

"To tell him what? 'Hello sir, don't worry, look for another club, I just agreed a contract with Didier."

The 81-year-old's sneering tone about one of France's most gifted players and successful coaches unleashed a wave of condemnation from across the political spectrum.

Sorry

Though Le Graët apologised on Monday, the clumsiness spurred further criticism.


Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Zidane is heaven-sent, says Perez after Real Madrid win 34th La Liga crown
No man disrespects Zidane: French football boss Le Graët says sorry
Zidane shocks football world by quitting Real Madrid