— Published 26 May 2023

Brigitte Henriques gives up

She didn’t last two years. Brigitte Henriques, who in June 2021 will become the first woman to preside over the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF), handed over the keys to her office at the opening of the body’s general meeting on Thursday May 25. The former soccer international and ex-vice-president of the French Football Federation had announced the previous evening that she intended to submit the continuation of her mandate to a vote of confidence. But at the start of the meeting, she surprised everyone by announcing her resignation. The general meeting was opened by a speech from the Minister for Sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. Brigitte Henriques then took the floor. She detailed the results of her actions, then explained that she would not be going any further. Her resignation will take effect on June 29. In accordance with the CNOSF’s statutes, the Secretary General, former fencer Astrid Guyart, will act as interim President. According to a CNOSF press release, a new president should be elected “within the next three months“. The departure of Brigitte Henriques, which many members of the board feel is inevitable, should put an end to a crisis that began in September 2022 with the ousting of former General Secretary Didier Seminet. The two former allies tore each other apart for months, filing complaints and making increasingly hostile statements. In recent weeks, the climate seemed less troubled, but the entry into the battle of former CNOSF president Denis Masseglia reignited hostilities. First a supporter of Brigitte Henriques during her campaign, then her fiercest enemy, the Marseille-based executive announced last week his intention to lodge a complaint with the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) for breach of trust. In a statement to AFP, the French Sports Minister suggested that there was “no winner today“, but that there could be “a victory, that of an ethical and democratic surge“. Amélie Oudéa-Castéra added that she would be expecting members of the governing body’s executive board on Tuesday May 30, at the Ministry, to “take stock.” With 14 months to go before the Paris 2024 Games, the CNOSF may be out of the crisis, but it now needs to find itself a new president.