Oudéa-Castéra's salary deemed "abnormal" by a report: inevitable scandal?

The Minister of National Education and Sports is still in the eye of the storm: a parliamentary report criticizes the "failings" of the FFT, which she led before becoming minister, in particular concerning her salary.

Oudéa-Castéra's salary deemed "abnormal" by a report: inevitable scandal?

The Minister of National Education and Sports is still in the eye of the storm: a parliamentary report criticizes the "failings" of the FFT, which she led before becoming minister, in particular concerning her salary.

Already weakened by her comments on public schools, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra will have to be very skillful and strengthen her elements of language to cope with the new controversy that will provoke the publication of a parliamentary report this Tuesday, on the federation French tennis court. The winds will blow hard: to the “systemic failures” pointed out by the parliamentary commission of inquiry are added a certain casualness of Amélie Oudéa-Castéra when she was at the head of French tennis, as general director, between May 2021 and May 2022.

The report of the commission, chaired by Béatrice Bellamy (Horizons) and whose rapporteur is the MP Sabrina Sebaihi (Ecologists) was consulted by Le Monde, which reports this Monday on the salient points implicating the current Minister of National Education, Youth, Sports and the Olympics. The main criticism from parliamentarians targets the remuneration of the former boss of French tennis, who received 500,000 euros gross per year, including a bonus of 100,000 euros on target. Too high a salary? Questioned about her emoluments by the commission of inquiry, on November 16, 2023, she judged that she could legitimately earn more: “If I relate my current remuneration to the volume of hours that I put in each week, working days, nights, weekends, I’m not paid well,” she said.

But it is not for these personal considerations that the minister is in question, but rather for the indifference she showed when she was called to order. In February 2022, as the parliamentary committee recalls, “the General Inspectorate [of Education, Sport and Research] called for the level of remuneration of the ten main executives of the FFT to be reconsidered”. The general inspection was very clear: it pointed out the “considerable, even abnormal” remuneration of Jean-François Vilotte, the predecessor of Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who then received 413,325 euros gross per year. Furthermore, the inspection harshly criticized the lack of “recruitment and search procedures for senior executives, interviews by a dedicated unit” during the hiring of Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. Not only has the “abnormal” remuneration of the person at the head of the FFT not decreased, but on the contrary, it has been increased, by more than 86,000 euros. “It is clear that this request from the general inspectorate was not respected by the FFT,” regrets the commission of inquiry.

The parliamentarians also point out an untruth asserted by the minister before the commission on November 16. The FFT “does not receive a single euro of public subsidy”, she declared, to justify her salary. However, this is completely false, as indicated by the parliamentarians, who criticize Amélie Oudéa-Castéra for having “provided an inaccurate presentation of the public support granted by the State”. The day after her hearing, the minister retracted, sending a corrective letter to the commission, which allowed her to escape being reported for “perjury”. But the figures put forward by the minister (1.28 million euros of state subsidy in 2022) appear “minimized”, very underestimated, according to the deputies.

Another “failure” pointed out by elected officials: the lack of neutrality of the “National Committee to strengthen ethics and democratic life in sport”. At its head, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports, has appointed Mr. Franck Latty, president of the FFT ethics committee. What is problematic for the commission of inquiry: "On the one hand, the ethics committee may be required to rule on the management of the former general director of the FFT, and, on the other hand, a decree of August 4, 2022 rightly intended to sever all ties between the Minister of Sports and her former federation,” write the deputies. The commission also points out "the casualness with which the Ministry of Sports ensured compliance with the laws and regulations in force regarding ethics", specifically on the obligation of public service delegated federations to have an ethics committee. independent.

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