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Florence Hardouin, the maverick of the FFF

By Rémi Dupré and Alexandre Pedro

Published today at 00:36

Non-stop, a Paris-Doha flight takes seven hours. But, in feeling, the trip of the French delegation which flies to Qatar for the draw for the 2022 Football World Cup, Friday 1er April, is likely to be much longer. More icy too, as relations are strained between the director general of the French Football Federation (FFF), Florence Hardouin, 55, and several members of the management of the France team, under the impassive gaze of their boss. . “Is a president of a federation obliged to pass judgment on his general manager? My answer is nosweeps Noël Le Graët, 80 years old. I will not comment on my principal collaborator, for good or ill. »

Not long ago, Florence Hardouin, in post at the FFF since 2013, was still the “super-intendant” of the Blues, the one who bent over backwards for the coach, Didier Deschamps, and had lunch at his side. An exposed position, but also jealous.

“You know, I was in my little corner and I didn’t talk too much with the players”, minimizes the interested party evoking a simple “administrative link role” Between ” the sporty one ” and the president of the FFF.

Florence Hardouin at the Paris headquarters of the French Football Federation, March 24, 2022.

But, in June 2021, during the Euro, a series of contested decisions will precipitate the dismissal of the leader. The day after the elimination of the French team in the round of 16, against Switzerland, she was held responsible for an unfortunate change of hotel on the eve of the match. To the chagrin of the staff of the Blues, already scalded by the replacement of the usual steward, recently operated, by a truck driver transporting the equipment of the Blues. To make matters worse, M.me Hardouin then claims the head of another number two, Guy Stephan, the assistant and friend of Didier Deschamps.

Bitterness and resentment

Also, in the wake of the defeat of the Blues, the hyphen will disappear after a round trip of the general manager to the home of its president, in Guingamp (Côtes-d’Armor): “a dismissal by presidential decision”, certifies someone close to the management of the FFF. At WorldMme Hardouin gives his own version. “It was my decision to take a step back, and it was validated by the president. It’s a need and a feeling, I’ve suffered too much. » Far from the Blues, she now defines herself as “an operational” eager to refocus on its “superbox” with its budget of 250 million euros and its 300 employees.

Despite her denials, Florence Hardouin has kept bitterness and resentment from the summer episode, to the point of privately attacking a Didier Deschamps whom she considers overwhelmed in the management of her group. The beautiful unity of the victorious campaign at the World Cup in Russia in 2018 seems a long way off. The coach has distanced himself from the DG. He no longer gets wet to support her publicly, any more than the members of his staff or the players of the France team.

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