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Member Of French Olympics At Loggerhead With Sport Minister Over Sexual Abuse Scandal

Didier Gailhaguet a former president of french skating and member of National Olympics and Sport Commitee (CNOSF) Board of Director has refused to step down after French Sport minister, Roxana Maracinanu had advised him to amid sexual abuse scandal.

In the e-mail seen by AFP, Gailhaguet reportedly says that he was forced out of his skating role to “preserve my clubs, my leagues and my committees”.

He also spoke about the opposition to him from Maracineanu, who he described as “the atomic weapon”.

“I decided not to resign and to those who would call for my resignation, I simply ask for a little decency,” he said.

“I obviously do not intend to let myself be accused without having the opportunity to defend myself. 

“No, I do not, of course, intend to be the expiatory victim of the obvious dysfunctions of the administration.”

In an e-mail sent to other CNOSF officials, including President Denis Masseglia, Gailhaguet said he had “decided not to resign” despite pressure to do so.

He also asked for “decency”, according to AFP.

Gailhaguet resigned as President of the French Ice Skating Federation (FFSG) in February amid claims of sexual abuse within the sport.

It came after former international figure skater Sarah Abitbol alleged in a book that she had been abused multiple times from 1990 to 1992 by former coach Gilles Beyer.

Other skaters also made allegations against Beyer and other coaches, with French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu calling on Gailhaguet to resign.

The official was not personally implicated but was President of the FFSG when Beyer was appointed as team manager of the French junior team for the 2011 Figure Skating World Championships.

This was despite an inquiry by the French Sports Ministry in 2000, which reportedly revealed inappropriate behaviour with an underage skater.

Gailhaguet claimed he had requested that this probe take place and denied protecting Beyer.

He said that being forced out of his President’s role was an “injustice”.

The 66-year-old initially served as FFSG President between 1998 and 2004, before being elected again in 2007 after a three-year ban for his involvement in the judging scandal at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics.

He remained in the post until his resignation this year but is refusing to leave the CNOSF.

Masseglia had instructed the CNOSF Ethics Committee to investigate, which ruled it could not remove Gailhaguet from his post, AFPsaid.