Who is Gilles Moretton, cornered boss of French tennis

President in turmoil

Elected on January 20, 2018, at the head of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes league, Gilles Moretton was first a very critical opponent of the controversial Bernard Giudicelli, president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT) since 2017. Before he dethrone in elections in February 2021, promising “an exemplary federation in ethics, respect and transparency”. But, in recent weeks, “business” has been piling up at the FFT. The press first echoed the high turnover and social unrest within the institution. On March 16, leaders of the federation filed a complaint against X for “misappropriation of property” and “corruption”, followed, a week later, by a report to the financial prosecutor’s office of the Anticor association. Gilles Moretton and two of his relatives are suspected of having organized the resale of tickets outside the nails, when he led the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes League. The boss of the FFT defends himself from any irregularity.

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Former professional player with a modest career

Of the feverish type on the tennis courts, Gilles Moretton experienced rather modest heights, with a round of 16 at Roland-Garros in 1979 and a 65e world place, reached in 1981. In the France team, he knows nine selections, without leaving a noticeable trace. In the shadow of Yannick Noah and Henri Leconte, he was in the 1982 Davis Cup final, lost to the United States, without playing a single match. In 1984, at only 26 years old, and already the father of two children, he put an end to his playing career. He then offered tennis courses in Val-d’Isère, in Savoie, based on… relaxation. At the same time, he became sales representative for the sports equipment manufacturer Wilson and the tobacco company Philip Morris.

Spirit of competitions

In 1987, in his hometown, the new retiree launched the Grand Prix de tennis de Lyon. From its first edition, the tournament offered a prestigious winner, Yannick Noah. The beginning of a golden series, from the American Pete Sampras to the Croatian Ivan Ljubičić, via the Russian Ievgueni Kafelnikov or the Frenchman Richard Gasquet, all titled in Lyon. In 2009, Gilles Moretton was removed from his position as director by Canal+ Events, owner of the tournament. But the former player has long since broadened his sporting palette, since he created his event company, the Gilles Moretton Organization, in the mid-1980s. In 1995, GMO took over the organization of the Lyon marathon.

Eclectic businessman

In 2001, Gilles Moretton became president of the Villeurbanne basketball club, Asvel. He held the position until 2014, when he sold his shares to Tony Parker. Managing Director of the Sportfive marketing agency, a Lagardère Group entity, from 2005 to 2007, he also knows how to get out of his chosen field. In 2010, he was one of around fifteen Lyon bosses who took over Progress the Télé Lyon Métropole (TLM) channel, in financial difficulty. Three years later, in the summer of 2013, he was appointed president of TLM, while the channel, for lack of sufficient advertisers, was placed under safeguard proceedings by the Lyon commercial court. It will remain there until 2015.

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