Football: Noël Le Graët would like “30% of spectators” for France-Ukraine

Noël Le Graët, President of the FFF since 2011
Noël Le Graët, current President of the French Football Federation and candidate for re-election, spoke on Tuesday 23 January concerning the return of the public to the stadiums. He said he would “like to put 30% of spectators” at the Stade de France during the next match of the Blues, March 24 against Ukraine, “on an experimental basis”.

It is a wish that all sports lovers would like to see come true: the return of the public, at least partially, to the stadiums. Noël Le Graët mentioned it during a trip to Aix-en-Provence: “You can imagine that with the Stade de France which has 80,000 seats, I would like us to be able to put at least 30% minimum of spectators on an experimental basis”, did he declare. The last match of the Blues dates back to November 17 against Sweden at the Stade de France (4-2). Didier Deschamps’ men are due to meet Ukraine on March 24 for a match counting for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The experimentation of a partial return of the public to sports arenas was on the menu Tuesday of an interministerial meeting in Matignon. But for the moment, neither gauge nor timetable has been established. This is what Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said on Saturday, after a meeting with the presidents of Olympique Lyonnais (football) Jean-Michel Aulas, Asvel (basketball) Gaëtan Muller and of LOU (rugby) Yann Roubert. Clubs that could host “test matches” with the public.

Campaigning for a fourth term at the head of the powerful FFF, Noël Le Graët, 79, also underlined Tuesday during a meeting with elected members of the Mediterranean League that “nobody had pushed him” in this choice: “It’s not a job, it’s a hobby”. The boss of the rich and starry FFF leaves favorite for a new four-year term, ahead of his two main challengers.

But the game is not played in advance before the Federal Assembly on March 13, during which the votes of the amateur world (63%) will weigh more heavily than those of professional clubs. Besides Noël Le Graët, boss of the FFF since 2011, Frédéric Thiriez, former president of the Professional Football League, and Michel Moulin, entrepreneur and former club advisor, are running for the post of president.

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