PARIS (AP) — French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet was re-elected on Saturday despite opposition from anti-racism activists who describe him as out of touch.
The 79-year-old Le Graet convincingly beat candidates Frederic Thiriez and Michel Moulin, earning a four-year term after taking 73% of the vote.
Le Graet, president since 2011, was the heavy favorite and had strong backing from influential Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas and Strasbourg president Marc Keller.
He has a close working relationship with France coach Didier Deschamps, who guided France to the European Championship final in 2016 and World Cup victory two years later.
Thiriez, the French league’s president from 2002-2016, claimed 25% of the vote and Moulin had just under 2%.
Anti-racism activists have criticized Le Graet for not taking the sport’s problems seriously enough. Le Graet downplayed an incident in September when Neymar said he was racially abused by an opponent.
Le Graet at that time told broadcaster BFM Business: “This phenomenon of racism in sport, and in football in particular, does not exist at all or barely does.”
The SOS Racisme campaign group and others had urged voters to join them in opposing Le Graet’s candidacy.
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