Dishonored former French skating chief refuses to leave Olympic post

PARIS: Didier Gailhaguet , forced to give up the French Ice Sports Federation (FFSG) in February due to a sexual assault scandal, refuses to leave the French olympic committee he said in an email obtained by AFP on Thursday.

I have decided not to resign, and for those who would ask for my resignation, I simply ask for a bit of decency, Gailhaguet said at the end of his message, sent out Wednesday night and addressed to the approximately 40 board members. of directors of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF), including its president Denis Masseglia .

On Thursday morning, the former FFSG president also attended a video conference meeting of the board.

After a long reign at the helm of French skating that he had chaired from 1998 to 2004 and from 2007, Gailhaguet, 66, was forced to resign in early February, under pressure from the Minister of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu .

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A fortnight before, several former skaters, including Sarah Abitbol who published a book Un si long silence, accused his former trainers of skating, including Gilles Beyer, of rape and sexual assault.

The manager of the French national figure skating team Beyer was removed after an investigation by the sports ministry in 2000, but under Gailhaguet, he was allowed to continue training at the club level.

Gailhaguet said in his message that he was forced to resign to save French skating because of the threat to withdraw the recognition brandished by Maracineanu, which he described as an atomic weapon.

No, obviously I don't intend to let myself be accused without having the opportunity to defend myself. No, of course, I don't pretend to be the scapegoat for the administration's obvious malfunctions, he said.

The CNOSF ethics committee said in a memorandum on April 14 that the Olympic Committee cannot unilaterally end Gailhaguet's term as director, which will end on June 29, 2021 with the election of a new president and a new board of directors. . directors

The committee nevertheless noted that his continued membership "is likely to harm, on the one hand, the cohesion and image of the sports movement and, on the other hand, relations between the new leaders of the French Ice Sports Federation and the CNOSF".

In his email, Gailhaguet said Masseglia recently asked me to consider resigning from a position for which I was democratically elected with you.

Contacted by AFP, Masseglia declined to comment, saying that in the current crisis, it is a secondary problem and that French sport has greater challenges.