The Paris Olympics in 2024 were already at the heart of the controversy, because of the price of places for the general public, in particular the opening ceremony, denounced by more and more French athletes. But these criticisms did not augur such a serious internal crisis. And yet, this is what has been at stake within the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) for more than a year and a half. This crisis prompted Brigitte Henriques, president elected in June 2021, to resign on Thursday May 25, 14 months before the start of the Olympics.
Internal conflicts and rivalries got the better of the former vice-president of the French Football Federation (FFF), at open war for months with her predecessor Denis Masseglia. The secretary general of the body Astrid Guyart will take over until the election of a new president "in the next three months", specifies the press release from the CNOSF.
"The situation was no longer tenable, she made the right choice," reacted a federation president present at the time of the announcement of this resignation at a much-awaited general meeting.
The French Olympic Committee must "come together" and "bounce back", for its part reacted the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, in a statement to AFP. "There is no winner today", she said, but there can be "a victory, that of the ethical and democratic leap forward", she added, adding that she invited to the ministry the executive office of the body "Tuesday evening" in order to "take stock".
This climate has become even heavier in recent days with the announcement by Denis Masseglia of an upcoming complaint to the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) for breach of trust, targeting the term of office of Brigitte Henriques.
The eviction in September 2022 of Henriques' former right-hand man, Didier Seminet, triggered a deep crisis from which the institution has never recovered.
The proximity to the Paris Olympics, in fourteen months, and this never-ending crisis have worried many players in French sport. "This resignation is a way to resolve the crisis, and it's quite noble," reacted another federation president.
A few hours after the resignation of the president of the CNOSF, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday invited the French Olympic and sports movement to "focus" on the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
With an unusually direct tone since the start of this crisis a year and a half ago, the Olympic body "appeals to everyone's responsibility so that the internal conflicts which have affected the CNOSF in recent months cease", indicated to AFP a spokesperson.
The IOC - which "takes note" of the resignation of Brigitte Henriques and "thanks her warmly" for her work - invites "the whole of the French Olympic and sports movement" to focus "fully" on the success of the Paris Games, even if the CNOSF only plays a minor role in their preparation.