Shaken by internal tensions, the French Football Federation calls on a communications firm

Florence Hardouin, the general manager of the French Football Federation, and Noël Le Graët, the president (here in 2015).

In bad weather, the French Football Federation (FFF) calls for outside help. In 2010 and 2011, she had recourse to two companies specializing in “media training”, responsible for taking care of her image after the World Cup disaster in South Africa, then during the so-called “quotas” case – the revelation by the site Mediapart the existence of a project, finally abandoned, of ethnic quotas in training centers. According to our information, the institution has, since the second half of November, approached another firm specializing in communication strategy, the Vae Solis group.

Two years after the Blues’ world title in Russia, this collaboration takes place in a different context. It follows in particular the publication of a survey published in the New York Times. In mid-October, the American daily highlighted a “Toxic culture” within the institution and compiled a list of “Malfunctions” at the headquarters of the federation, detailing the tensions between the director general, Florence Hardouin, and several of the 17 service directors, who criticized him for operating at times too abrupt.

The article also revealed the existence of an internal audit on this subject, which the president of the FFF, Noël Le Graët, had carried out in September. Following this publication, Mr. Le Graët first refused to share with employees, on October 22 during a videoconference, the report of this investigation, carried out by the firm Plein Sens. Before finally agreeing, Wednesday, November 25, to give more information to members of his “government”, the executive committee of the FFF. But only orally, through the auditor Eric Molière, who did not answer the World.

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In essence, according to an elected official present at this meeting, the report confirmed “Relationship problems” between Mme Hardouin and some federal directors. “There was a lack of binder within the administration, but there is a new dynamic now”, wants to believe the same elected. A debate followed Mr. Molière’s presentation.

A “one-off” mission

In this tense context at the Parisian headquarters of the FFF, the outlines of Vae Solis’ mission remain unclear. This request comes as the communication director of the FFF was already on sick leave, like another director.

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