Curfew: the professional sports world is getting organized

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The telephones rang, heated, videoconferences multiplied on Thursday. The day after the presidential announcements – with a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for Ile-de-France and 8 other metropolises as of tomorrow – the professional clubs concerned by these measures contacted their supervisory bodies to organize themselves. . The goal is to get through this estimated period, for the moment, between 4 and 6 weeks without too much damage. If amateur sport risks going into hibernation with the impossibility of playing or training in the evening, the elite hopes to continue their activity thanks to the exemptions for the high level. The goal is also to avoid playing games behind closed doors. A meeting without an audience represents a loss of “150,000 euros per match compared to the 1000 spectators”, calculated Thomas Lombard, general manager of Stade Français rugby. For basketball or volleyball clubs, a closed door could even mean bankruptcy.

To avoid this dramatic outcome, the clubs have asked to advance the schedule of their matches. For the moment, they have been heard. Thus, the Ile-de-France Top 14 shock between Stade Français and Racing, initially scheduled for Sunday, October 25 at 9:05 p.m. on Canal +, was scheduled the day before at 6 p.m. “We are working with Canal + so that the matches of the teams affected by these measures are not scheduled in the evening,” confirms the Rugby League.

Basketball opts for advanced matches

The process is identical for basketball, for which the Jeep Elite championship is broadcast on L’Equipe et Sport in France. With the difference that the clubs do not receive any TV rights and that games behind closed doors would therefore have even more dramatic consequences. Nanterre (Jeep Elite) was the first to react by asking – and getting – that their match against Strasbourg be played at 4 p.m. on Saturday. It was originally scheduled for 8:45 p.m. Strasbourg will thus have time to leave the Ile-de-France region before the curfew and Nanterre therefore avoids going behind closed doors. It will be able to accommodate 1000 spectators, including partners and subscribers.

“Playing in front of an audience is vital for us,” says Frédéric Donnadieu, general manager of the club. Nanterre made this request for all of its home games until the end of November. In Jeep Elite, he should win his case but it is less obvious for European Cup matches. His neighbor from Boulogne-Levallois, whose budget is mainly made up around a pool of partners, would have decided to maintain his matches in the evening and play behind closed doors.

“The situation is worrying but it could have been worse because it only concerns a few clubs, not the whole championship,” said Michel Mimran, general manager of the Basketball League. The clubs can therefore organize themselves. If we can also reverse the order of a meeting, we will. For televised matches, we have to agree so that it is advanced or that another is broadcast instead. We must all adapt and be as accommodating as possible in the general interest. “

Volleyball is flexible

Same requirement for volleyball. “We don’t have any TV rights, so ticket sales are an integral part of the clubs budget,” explains Eric Tanguy, president of the French Federation, which organizes the amateur and professional championships. There is no reason that we cannot find a solution when we have a common vision to save our sport. We will be more flexible so that the maximum number of matches can be held. We will grant postponements of the match but we cannot imagine stopping the championship. The survival of the clubs depends on it.

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