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“Assuming our societal role is one of our foremost responsibilities”

In October 2023, the French Football Federation (FFF) presented its societal engagement plan. What are the objectives and the resources available in order to achieve them? An answer from Philippe Dallio, FFF President.


Why was it important to stress your federation’s societal responsibility?

Our federation has been through a stormy patch and it was important to reaffirm that what football does for society must be at the heart of our club project, as much as what it does on the pitch and financially.

Revealing this plan also served as a reminder of how much football, as a mirror of society and its problems, is also a space where all parts of the community get together to find fulfilment. For the FFF, fully assuming this role is one of our foremost responsibilities. It was a way of publicly taking on a strong commitment which we will implement with integrity, transparency and sincerity.


In which areas will you take action?

The first area concerns combating all forms of violence and discrimination. In order to ensure the freedom to speak out, last November we rolled out an online platform for raising the alarm for use by everyone with guaranteed anonymity. Another indispensable tool: training and raising the awareness of our managers, coaches and licence holders, the central pillar of our strategy, with the aim of creating a safe and respectful environment for all. We hope to have trained 100% of our managers and coaches in three years’ time, and that 75% of licence holders will have been made aware in the same time.Listening to and supporting victims is also a key aspect, borne out by a partnership with France Victimes, who are acting as a privileged, professional interlocutor to listen, advise and support any victims who wish it.

These ambitious objectives can only be achieved with the help of numerous expert associations who have responded to a unique call for associative projects.Finally, we are acting systematically with firmness on the repressive aspect of this scheme, by all the regulatory paths available to us. In no case can these facts be seen as trivial: every form of violence must be punished.


Equality, diversity, inclusion and insertion are some of the issues to be taken up. How do you expect to strengthen your impact here?

We are aiming to have 500,000 licence holders in 5 years’ time and will be making it easier to get a licence in every position in football. This commitment goes beyond figures: it involves using the club’s societal role to create opportunities for social, professional and financial inclusion. We will continue to reinforce the educational role of football with young people through our Federal Education Programme, or our school support programme, Puissance Foot. Finally, we hope to develop opportunities for access to playing football for groups of people who usually find it hard to play, such as persons with a disability or people in exile.


The climate emergency can no longer be ignored. What progress do you think has been made in this issue by your federation?

The climate emergency is a reality which no sector. We have taken significant measures such as systematically using the train for short journeys, which is in progress as we work on a plan for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and making 100% of our young members aware of climate problems. However, there is still work to be done. Our ambition is to make the FFF an example when it comes to green initiatives, by making sustainability an integral part of everything we do and by encouraging the whole of our ecosystem to adopt the most environmentally friendly practices. We are engaged on finding and developing innovative solutions for sustainable development in collaboration with partners in the public and private sectors, as is shown by the research consortium SPOR&D launched in November. The continuing existence of football and its credibility are at stake.


Apart from the schemes implemented, this plan involves reorganisation at the federal governance level. Is this necessary to make steering and a more exact assessment possible?

This reorganisation aims to put in place a more flexible, transparent and reactive governance, capable of effectively steering various initiatives. Our new federal Engagement Committee, including well-known, committed personalities from outside, is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the plan and giving an account of it each year at the Federal Assembly.

Elsewhere, the creation of a new engagement management embodies our will to put our societal responsibility at the heart of our operations, and to give it the means required (6m€ more over 3 years).

Because the credibility of a societal scheme depends on assessment, we have asked an independent third party to verify the reality of the policies set up and to report back. This is also the reason for our future collaboration with UNESCO to create an observatory of the societal impact of sport.


This article was published in the magazine Sport and Citizenship n°57 : protecting sport integrity




Sport et citoyenneté