The amateur championships, until Federal 2 (5th French division), had already been suspended since October 29. At the start of the week, this time it was the Federal 1 (4th division) and the National (3rd division) which were put on hold by the French Rugby Federation (FFR). If the decision has visibly surprised no one, it does not necessarily win unanimity within the clubs of Île-de-France and Oise which evolve at these levels.
For the Federal 1, in amateur status, there was therefore no derogation and the clubs were not consulted. But they were “mostly in favor” of this option according to the president of Drancy, Benjamin Périé. “We think it’s a good decision, it’s complicated to continue the championship under these conditions,” he said. There may be problems with structures to train, some are closed. When the players are working on the side, it is not easy to organize. There is also the financial impact linked to the closed session, especially for provincial clubs. After that, it is true that in our division, the issues are different from one club to another. “
In Beauvais, President Olivier Lenormant was also inclined to suspend the competition. “From a logistical point of view, during a period of confinement, it is better to stop,” he confirms. On the move, there are 60 of us leaving, we have to eat, sometimes find accommodation, it’s complicated. And playing rugby behind closed doors is against nature, it is not the essence of our sport. Obviously, from a purely sporting point of view, it’s less good… ”
The clubs want to continue training
The situation is different for the National, semi-professional division, where the clubs have this time been concerted. But of the fourteen teams in the division, only four wanted to see the championship continue. Among them, the two residents of Ile-de-France, Massy and Suresnes, even if they “respect the decision”. “Our championship is new and needs visibility,” says Morgan Champagne, rugby director at Massy. In addition, we came out of a month and a half with a lot of cases of Covid-19. The players wanted to do battle, after a not necessarily good start to the season. We wanted to create a dynamic, and the sporting aspect prevailed for us, even if we understand the problems of others. “
Mathieu Blin, the general coordinator of Suresnes, also says he understands the budgetary consequences of the matches behind closed doors on the big cars of the division. “But we thought it was time to show solidarity and ask the League to donate to the National a small part of the 40 million aid allocated to the Pro D 2 and the Top 14, advance the former – Stade Français calibrator. And by creating this championship, we knew that the possibility of reconfinement existed. The Nationale must not make the same mistakes that the Top 14 and Pro D 2 made, by creating an inflationary bubble that is not linked to the real economy. Clubs with high revenue should look at how they build their budgets upstream. “
The various leaders nevertheless agree on one point: they want their teams to be able to continue training during the month of November, even at the smallest part. They fear that a potential extension of confinement, added to the end of year celebrations, will prevent them from being athletically ready in January. “We can’t train just a week before the start, it would be dangerous,” warns Morgan Champagne. You have to think about the physical integrity of the players. In August, we had 15 or 16 injured because they had lost pace. Stopping the competition has a heavy impact on top athletes… ”
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr