PARIS - Guingamp chief Noel Le Graet was surprisingly elected president of the French Football Federation (FFF) on Saturday to succeed Fernand Duchaussoy, who had been the pre-vote favourite despite a string of rows.
French football has suffered a turbulent recent period with the national team going on strike and being dumped out in the group stage of last year's World Cup before a racism scandal led to a probe in which coach Laurent Blanc was cleared.
France did have some success when chosen to host Euro 2016.
Le Graet, 69 and president of second-division Guingamp, collected 54.39 percent of the votes compared to 45.40 percent for Duchaussoy and 0.19 percent for third candidate Eric Thomas.
"The job is extremely exciting. We will start work today," the new president told the General Assembly of the FFF.
Le Graet's term will last until December 2012 and he has indicated that he will not take a salary.
He said his first job was to look into the role of technical director after incumbent Francois Blaquart was implicated in the row over whether the federation should consider imposing limits for ethnic players in youth teams.comments