Claude Simonet, who served as President of the French Football Federation between 1994 and 2005 has died ©Getty Images

Claude Simonet, President of the French Football Federation (FFF) from 1994 to 2005 and known as the "President of the Zidane generation" has died aged 92.

Born in 1930 in the Mortagne-au-Perche commune, Simonet served as a goalkeeper at amateur and professional levels, notably for Le Mans and Nantes.

A construction engineer, he spent many years as a vice-president at FC Nantes, during which time the club won the French title four times.

His reign at FC Nantes ended when the team moved to the Beaujoire Stadium, built to host Euro 1984.

Simonet then served as President of the Atlantic League from 1984 to 2000, and became treasurer of the FFF in 1992.

In November 1993, following the failure of France to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup finals, Jean Fournet-Fayard resigned as head of the FFF, and after an interim period Simonet emerged as the only candidate for the Presidency, taking up the post in February 1994.

His early years in post were marked by huge success as France, hosts of the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals, won the trophy for the first time, with Zinedine Zidane scoring twice in the 3-0 win over Brazil in the final at the Stade de France.

Simonet was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour after France's victory at the World Cup.

Two years later France won the UEFA Euro 2000 title, beating Italy in the final in Rotterdam thanks to a golden goal from David Trezeguet after Sylvain Wiltord had equalised in the last minute.

Simonet was on the crest of a wave, having worked closely with Blues coach Aimé Jacquet, who oversaw the World Cup win, and his successor Roger Lemerre, who guided the team to the European Championship tournament.

But the tide turned against him in July 2002 when French media highlighted an FFF expenses report from the 2002 World Cup finals co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, where the defending champions failed to get past the group stages.

Expenses reports from the Sheraton Hotel in Seoul included a bottle of Romanée-Conti 1998 at €4,800 (£4,200/$5,100) ordered on the evening of France’s 1-0 defeat by Senegal in the opening round-of-16 matches.

The President of France’s Amateur Football League Jean-Pierre Escalettes, was happy to castigate "a federal lifestyle, the decision-making process and the internal communication that does not work."

Simonet claimed to have "neither seen nor drunk", adding, "in the wine orders, someone made a mistake in the conversions, a bottle was expensive. It's not my fault."

In 2003 he told Le Monde: "I was drunk with blows. 

"I was bowed down. 

"It was excruciating."

Claude Simonet, FFF President during the glory years of Zinedine Zidane, pictured, has died aged 92 ©Getty Images
Claude Simonet, FFF President during the glory years of Zinedine Zidane, pictured, has died aged 92 ©Getty Images

After the poor showing of France at Euro 2004, in Portugal, and the appointment of Raymond Domenech as coach, Simonet, then 74, left his job - and was soon to face a legal storm.

In 2006 he faced charges in a criminal court of "forgery and use of forgery" and "obstructing the mission of auditor" for having concealed a deficit of €13.9 million (£12.2 million/$14.8 million) in the 2002-2003 FFF balance sheet, making it appear as if the deficit were only €63,000 (£55,000/$67,000).

In April 2007, Simonet was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of €10,000 (£8,750/$10,600) by the Paris Criminal Court.

"With the disappearance of Claude Simonet, French football loses a leader who marked the history of our sport since he was our President when we had the happiness of winning the World Cup in 1998 and then the Euro 2000,” said the coach of the national team, Didier Deschamps.

"He brought the French team back on the path to success. 

"I will keep strong images of him, of intense happiness."

The Acting President of the FFF, Philippe Diallo, testified to his "deep affection" for the former leader, and "great respect" for his career, adding: "He took the reins of the federation when it was going through turbulence and put it back on the right track."