— Published 30 June 2021

Brigitte Henriques makes history

Brigitte Henriques

That’s history. For the first time since the creation of the body, a woman will chair the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). Brigitte Henriques, 50, a former international football player and current vice-president of the French Football Federation (FFF), was elected on Tuesday, June 29th, at the annual general assembly. She beat her three rivals by a wide margin in a vote that was less close than expected. Brigitte Henriques won in the first round, with 57.87% of the votes cast. She beat Thierry Rey, the 1980 Olympic judo champion and special adviser to the Paris 2024 OCOG (19.26%), Emmanuelle Bonnet-Oulaldj, co-president of the French Workers and Amateurs in Sports Federation (16.05%), and Patrice Martin, president of the French waterski and wakeboard Federation (6.82%). Brigitte Henriques succeeds Denis Masseglia, 73, who has reached the age limit after twelve years in office. She becomes the fifth president of the CNOSF and the ninth president of the Olympic institution since the foundation of the first French Olympic Committee in 1894. In her campaign programme, she had announced that she wanted to ensure the “end of the sanitary crisis” by bringing back the licensees lost by the federations since the start of the pandemic, to guarantee “the success of the Paris 2024 Games” and that the CNOSF carries weight “as a political actor” in the public debate. “From now on, I am at the service of all sports, all federations, all members of the CNOSF, in an approach of openness and transparency,” she said after the announcement of her victory. “This collective approach will be the DNA of my shared governance. I would like to dedicate this victory to all the women, to all those who have inspired and accompanied me. So that they dare to apply for and reach positions of responsibility. And to all the men who have supported me throughout my career, first and foremost Noël Le Graet (the FFF president) and Denis Masseglia, who have placed their trust in me all these years”. Among her priorities, Brigitte Henriques has announced that she wants to meet FIFA president Gianni Infantino without delay in order to get the Olympic football tournament included in the international calendar. It is currently not on the international calendar, which allows clubs to refuse to release their players.