In interviews with both L’Équipe and BFMTV on Monday, football agent Sonia Souid has accused FFF president Noël Le Graët of several inappropriate advances in their dealings together between 2013 and 2017.
The French football chief has already been the subject of accusations stemming from an investigation by So Foot regarding his behaviour with female colleagues, notably claiming he sent inappropriate text messages. Le Graët has denied the accusations, and notably insisted that he does not know how to write texts anyway.
Souid recounts numerous dinner invitations as well as late-night voice messages telling her to come share a bottle of champagne with him.
She explains that she first reached out to him with regard to her work in women’s football in 2013 – Souid was responsible for bringing Helena Costa and Corinne Diacre to the Clermont bench. The agent goes on to detail that one meeting took place at Le Graët’s apartment, and was supposed to be attended by Brigitte Henriques – then head of French women’s football. Instead, when she arrived she found two Champagne glasses filled up and Henriques absent. She says that she did not touch the glasses and told the president that she had to leave to her fiancé – Le Graët let her leave but would continue to ask her out to dinner afterwards. Souid was 28, Le Graët 72 at the time.
“[On whether he ever made any concrete propositions] Apart from when I was at his place, when he made it clear to me that he wanted me to end up in his bed. He’s quite subtle, except for that voice message [asking to join him after his third Champagne bottle].”
The agent goes on to describe how Le Graët would regularly message her between 2014 and 2017, and that she did not accept his invitations – “Once my president made it clear to me that for my ideas to come to fruition, I had to get into bed with him… It came as a shock.” – but that back then, as a young FFF-affiliated agent, she had to “remain polite with a person who’s humiliating me.”
Le Graët’s claims about not knowing how to send a text message, she says, were what pushed her to speak out – “He isn’t scared of anything nor anyone. He thinks he’s untouchable. He probably is.”
Souid’s testimony has been applauded this morning by France’s Minister for Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra – herself in a war of words with the FFF president over the government’s audit into the FFF, which she says will be released “very soon”.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin