World cycling chief David Lappartient was on Thursday elected president of the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) on the back of a call for unity in the run-in to next year’s Paris Games.
Lappartient, head of the International Cycling Union (UCI), won 36 of the 44 votes cast from a possible 48 on the CNOSF board: there were three no-votes and one abstention.
Eight votes went to 50-year-old Lappartient’s rival, Emmanuelle Bonnet-Oulaldj, co-president of the French federation of grassroots sports, meaning it is Lappartient who will replace Brigitte Henriques.
Henriques announced her shock resignation in May after 18 months of internal squabbling and a very public disagreement with her predecessor Denis Masseglia.
The mandate of the new president, who was last year elected to serve an eight-year term as a member of the International Olympic Committee, will be confirmed by a vote of the CNOSF’s general assembly on September 13.
Henriques’ resignation, and election of Lappartient, will not affect the organising of the Games which is handled by the Paris Olympics organising committee, headed by France’s three-time canoeing gold medallist Tony Estanguet.
The sporting world’s quadrennial global showpiece gets under way on July 26, 2024, and runs until August 11.
Sporting bodies in France will now look to Lappartient, a seasoned sports and political administrator who is president of the Morbihan regional council in Brittany, to stabilise the French Olympic movement.
The resignation of Henriques -- a former vice-president of the French Football Federation -- was just the latest drama to affect French sports in the past year.
Several federations -- football, rugby, gymnastics and tennis -- have become embroiled in scandals.
There have been two high profile resignations as a result -- football’s octogenarian president Noel Le Graet went in February following accusations of sexual and psychological harassment.
Former sports minister and French rugby coach Bernard Laporte also quit his role as president of the French Rugby Federation in January after being convicted of corruption -- months away from France hosting the men’s Rugby World Cup.
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