The French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) has removed secretary general Didier Seminet from his position less than two years before the start of Paris 2024.
It followed a secret ballot at the end of an Extraordinary Board of Directors meeting.
An absolute majority of the 45 members present, including eight who joined online, voted to dismiss Seminet from his post at the organization’s headquarters, Maison du sport français, on the proposal of CNOSF President Brigitte Henriques.
A new secretary-general is scheduled to be appointed at a future Board meeting.
Seminet is set to remain a member of the Board of Directors despite his removal.
“This decision is the result of a long and difficult reflection,” Henriques said, according to the French media outlet L’Équipe.
“We will continue to mobilize just under two years from the opening of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
The exact reasons behind the secretary general’s dismissal are unclear, but Henriques has previously suggested there have been “long and difficult reflections” and told heads of National Federations and members of the CNOSF that the vote was a “necessary” procedure.
However, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Guy Drut rebuked Seminet’s potential removal on Friday (September 9), with less than two years away until Paris is scheduled to host the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.
France’s former Sports Minister condemned the “dramatic” infighting and said it would be a “serious and unprecedented” move if Henriques were to oust Seminet.
He also noted that he was unaware of what Seminet was being accused of and added that fellow French IOC members Martin Fourcade, David Lappartient, and Jean-Christophe Rolland were also none the wiser.
An unnamed President of a National Federation told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the situation was “deplorable” and was “very bad for our image” with Paris 2024 less than two years away.
In the same AFP report, a source said to be close to the management of the CNOSF attempted to downplay the significance of the vote in the build-up to it, suggesting there was “nothing dramatic” about the then potential removal of the secretary general.
Seminet is Honorary President of the French Baseball Federation and was a candidate for Presidency of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, before being beaten by Italian Riccardo Fraccari in July, as he secured a second term in office.
Henriques was elected as the first female President in the CNOSF’s 49-year history in June 2021, after replacing Denis Masseglia, who stood down after 12 years of leading the governing body.