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8 Feb, 2020 12:15

‘With dignity, but without bitterness’: French figure skating boss Didier Gailhaguet resigns amid huge sex scandal

‘With dignity, but without bitterness’: French figure skating boss Didier Gailhaguet resigns amid huge sex scandal

French Federation of Ice Sports president Didier Gailhaguet has officially resigned in the wake of a huge sex scandal which has rocked the country, ending Gailhaguet’s 20-year reign.

Gailhaguet’s resignation came just one week after several retired athletes, including decorated pairs skater Sarah Abitbol, revealed shocking claims of systematic sexual abuse and rape when they were minors.

READ MORE: 'I've made no mistakes': French Skating President Didier Gailhaguet admits 'errors but no fault' over sex abuse scandal

"For the sake of appeasement, I took with dignity, but without bitterness the wise decision to resign," Gailhaguet announced on Saturday.

He did not accept responsibility for the alleged sexual violence directed at underage skaters during his reign, saying that he "made no mistakes" while at the helm of the national federation.

Having been pressured by French sports officials, including Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu, Gailhaguet stepped down as the head of the national Federation of Ice Sports.

Last week, world bronze medalist Abitbol claimed to have been sexually assaulted and raped by her coach Gilles Beyer when she was between the ages of 15 and 17.

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Beyer, who is now 62, admitted to having “intimate” and “inappropriate” relations with the former skater, prompting French prosecutors to open an investigation into underage sex abuse within the field of figure skating.

Abitbol’s sensational revelation triggered a streak of #MeeToo campaigning in France with other professional athletes coming forward with their allegations of sexual abuse.

Prosecutors in France are investigating claims into underage sex abuse within the country’s sport with more and more shocking details emerging with every new revelation by athletes.

Also on rt.com ‘It was the first time that a man touched me’: French 10-time skating champ Sarah Abitbol claims she was raped by former coach

At the end of 2019, an independent investigation initiated by French journalists uncovered multiple sexual crimes in French sport.

According to the investigation more than 276 athletes from 28 different sports, mostly children under 15 years of age, were victims of sexual abuse.