The French Olympic Committee was devoured by its internal guerrillas

The French Olympic Committee was devoured by its internal guerrillas

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Paris (AFP) – A president backed by an unprecedented quartet, an opposition always upside down: The crisis that has plagued the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) for weeks is not over and should revive its board on Wednesday.

The “telenovela” of the French sports house continues. And for now, no one can outline the end of a series that many players in the ecosystem agree to call “disaster” two years after the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

On Wednesday, the board of CNOSF will therefore bring together 45 of its members, including its 51-year-old president, Brigitte Henriques, and former right-hand man Didier Séminet, who stepped down less than a month ago as secretary-general. and was targeted for ten days after her former boss complained of “psychological violence”.

Something to give an idea of ​​the atmosphere likely to prevail.

“Masquerade”

Since last Thursday, a quartet leader (Jean-Pierre Siutat, Michel Callot, Sébastien Poirier and Astrid Guyard) has been tasked with the operational duties of the President to allow Brigitte Henriques to get a “permit”.

“This is not a retreat, we will help him get through this difficult period,” said Michel Callot, president of the cycling federation.

“While we are deeply unhappy with what happened, most people have been praising his work at the head of CNOSF for months. What happened to him is quite unfair,” assures the former vice-president of the Football Association (FFF). source close to the government.

Cycling Federation president Michel Callot is one of four leaders at CNOSF's bedside table at Worlds in Wollongong on September 22, 2022.
Cycling Federation president Michel Callot is one of four leaders at CNOSF’s bedside table at Worlds in Wollongong on September 22, 2022. William WEST AFP/Archives

But the new team at the head of CNOSF disagrees.

Didier Séminet, thinking that this provisional college presidency was decided without prior consultation, said, “This is a mask of democracy! How did this 4-person group decide? How can we have such fun with statutes?”

“I hope there’s discussion during CA over the complaint and then over this new management. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about what happened,” he says.

“An important moment”

Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra predicted a “significant moment” on Wednesday, sparking a desire for “appeasement”. But it’s a difficult scenario to come up with.

Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra leaves the Council of Ministers at the Elysée Palace on 5 October 2022
Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra leaves the Council of Ministers at the Elysée Palace on 5 October 2022 Ludovic MARIN AFP/Archive

Because the crisis that CNOSF is going through looks deep. This civil war is now polarized around two very different camps, with an anti-Henriques front crystallized around former secretary general, former president Denis Masseglia, and embodied by Stéphane Nomis, president of the judo federation.

His federation, which will host a debate on the “future of the sports movement” a day after CA, is what some have interpreted as the opposition rallying against the president.

Analyzing a federation president, one federation president analyzes that “a very heterogeneous alliance against the president was formed, a community of people who didn’t vote for him and subsequently behaved well, and now some of his former supporters.”

These opponents accuse him of mainly importing the FFF culture into this house, which is intended to be completely separate, with authoritarian rule and hiring two managers from +3F+ (DG and DAF).

“Plots are usually done in the shadows, but there it is in the open. It’s a sign of a clear break,” analyzes a source close to the mysteries of the sport.

“Unacceptable”

Brigitte Henriques’ complaint against her former secretary-general “by no means calmed things down,” assures this source.

“They’re trying to salvage the ship as best they can,” analyzes a source close to the sample. “But I think he will eventually leave, it’s just a matter of time. CA is now split. And he no longer represents the CNOSF electorate.”

Some supporters of Brigitte Henriques question her opponents’ behavior and motivations.

Brigitte Henriques was named head of the French sports movement in Paris on 29 June 2021
Brigitte Henriques was named head of the French sports movement in Paris on 29 June 2021 Alain JOCARD AFP/Archive

“Obviously, their babies were avoiding them, they didn’t expect Brigitte not to do what they wanted,” said another federation president.

Speaking anonymously, Pascal Grizot, president of a small number of golf federations (FFG), regrets, “I am a loyal person, I respect the ballot boxes. It is a very bad image given by the federation presidents.”

“He believes Denis Masseglia is the worst. Would he have appreciated it if he had let his predecessor behave the way he did? This is unacceptable. If French sport needs a great sage, it is certainly not him”.

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